Proposed new strategy for blue cod fishery

  • Hon Stuart Nash

A proposed new plan to better manage the blue cod fishery has been launched by the Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash.

“We all know blue cod are seriously depleted in some areas. This is due to overfishing, our changing marine environment including pollution and warmer seas, and issues with their unique biology and life cycle,” Mr Nash says.

“The Blue Cod Strategy sets out a proactive approach to managing this popular fish species.  It proposes to manage the blue cod fishery at a much finer detail.  It takes into account wider environmental issues, as well as managing sustainability and the wider opportunities for technical innovation.

“Blue cod are treasured by tangata whenua and one of our most important recreational and commercial species. It has been fished commercially since the 1930s. Most of the commercial catch is taken by cod potting in Foveaux Strait and the Chatham Islands.

“The number of people taking blue cod has steadily increased over the past 20 years. Most blue cod live within a small home range. These two factors are causing depletion and a smaller average fish size in many areas. Tangata whenua, recreational and commercial groups are concerned that some local populations are being overfished and losing their habitat.

“Management decisions for blue cod have developed over time according to local issues. As a result, different regions have developed management regimes in isolation. This can result in inconsistency, compliance difficulty and additional cost. The objective is an abundant and sustainable blue cod fishery. The strategy has been developed with this in mind.

“Fisheries NZ officials have worked with a wide range of individuals and groups with a stake in this sector, including recreational and commercial interests, iwi and the Department of Conservation. They are all committed to improving the way we manage blue cod and I want to thank everyone for sharing their knowledge and ideas.

“Early next year Fisheries NZ will launch a formal public consultation process on some proposals outlined in the Blue Cod Strategy. I will wait to hear the results of that public consultation before deciding next steps,” Mr Nash said. 

More information, and the full strategy document is available on the Fisheries New Zealand webpage: