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Shark Management in New Zealand

2004 - 2007



School sharks 2007

Background The 2007 proposals
The SCH1 fishery and current allowances Joint SCH1 submission
School sharks MFish documents

Sharks 2004

Mako, blue and porbeagle sharks  



In June 2007 the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) advised they would be consulting on whether to increase the total allowable catch for school shark in northern New Zealand and by how much.


The fishery and current allowances

For school shark the east and west coast fisheries of northern New Zealand are in one quota management area (SCH1). The commercial quota was set at 560 tonne (t) in 1986. This increased to 668 t through decisions of the Quota Appeal Authority.

In 2004 the Minister of Fisheries agreed to increase commercial quotas in SCH areas 3,5,7,8 by between 5% and 20% under a temporary adaptive management project (AMP). This increased the national quota from 3,121 t to 3,416 t (9.5%).

Historically, Maori caught many thousands of shark at particular times of the year and preserved them by drying. School shark are a recognised IGFA gamefish. Of the 20 line class world records New Zealand holds 17 of them. The all-tackle world record is a 33 kg fish caught in Parengarenga Harbour in 1986. Until now no allowances for recreational of customary Maori fishers have been set in SCH1.

Commercially, school shark is mainly targeted with set nets and is a bycatch in trawl and line fisheries. There is probably a single national stock so increases in quota in one region may affect catches elsewhere. The commercial catch in SCH1 has exceeded quota for 9 of the last 10 years by an average of 12% (78 t).


School Sharks

School shark can be found throughout New Zealand. These sharks reach sexual maturity between 12 and 17 years old and reach a maximum age of at least 50 years. Breeding is not annual but probably occurs once either every two or three years. Small females can have 5 -10 pups while large females can have 40.   The pups remain in shallow nursery grounds during their first one or two years.

The combination of late maturity, slow growth, and limited birth rate gives a low overall productivity. Tagged school shark have moved all around New Zealand and have crossed the Tasman in both directions.


The Proposals

MFish propose to either increase the total allowable catch (TAC) by 27 t, by 78 t, or leave it unchanged. They give 2 options for allocation where an increase is proposed:

  • a proportional allocation based on estimated shares of the fishery; or
  • a non-proportional allocation, giving 100% of the increase to commercial fishers.  

MFish justify the second option by saying that the size of increases are based on average commercial catches only and the recreational and customary estimates are being set for the first time and an increase in the recreational allowance of a few tonnes would not “ increase the value that non-commercial fishers can obtain from the fishery”.  

There are also proposals elsewhere in the IPP to increase the deemed value for SCH1 from $1.61 per kg to $1.75 per kg, which ramps up to $2.10 per kg if a fisher over catches ACE by more than 20%.   But MFish say they would only do this if the TAC is not increased.

MFish proposed an allowance for recreational fishers of 66 tonnes, based on the 2000 harvest survey. They also proposed an allowance for customary fishers of 99 tonnes, based on 150% of the recreational allowance.


MFish Process

Any changes will take effect on 1 October 2007. Submission deadline is July 27th.


The following table includes the documents and submissions that form part of the overall process.

2007 Review Process

Joint Submission

option4 endorse the NZBGFC's comments that persistent catch in excess of quota and chronic deeming are not sufficient justification for increasing the commercial catch limits.

27 Jul 07

(Pdf 230Kb)

2007 MFish Documents

MFish Confirmation

Ministry of Fisheries confirmation of their proposals to either increase the total allowable catch for school shark or leave it unchanged.

15 Jun 07

(Pdf 180Kb)

MFish Proposals

MFish proposals for the future management of school shark including two options for allocation where an increase to the total allowable catch (TAC)

15 Jun 07

(Pdf 280Kb)

MFish Advice

MFish advice letter explaining the 2007 review process, the timeline and other management matters is available here........

11 Jun 07

(Pdf 30Kb)

2004 Submissions
The NZ Big Game Fishing Council's submission reiterates concerns about the impact of surface longlining on the shark population and calls for a ban on the practice of shark finning at sea.

27 Feb 04


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