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Reduction in Orange Roughy catch

Reduction in Orange Roughy catch

Catch limits for orange roughy in the East and South Chatham Rise will be reduced to protect sustainability, effective on 1 October, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton announced today.

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for orange roughy in the East and South Chatham Rise (ORH3B) fishery will be reduced to 9,890 tonnes per year, and the commercial catch limit will be reduced to 9,420 tonnes. This represents a 14% reduction in catch limits.

Jim Anderton said this decision was the first step in the phased introduction of a new fishery plan that will provide a management strategy for the East and South Chatham Rise fishery.

"Once developed this fishery plan will guide future decisions on catch limits and new measures to manage how and where orange roughy is caught."

Orange roughy is a valuable commercial species. The main orange roughy fisheries are on the Chatham Rise, and off the southeast North Island and northern South Island. The Chatham Rise supports the largest orange roughy fishery in the world. Each winter, orange roughy migrate to specific sites on the Rise, where they gather in large numbers to spawn.

Orange roughy grow very slowly and live a long time. They may reach ages of over 100 years, and reach maturity at about 30 years of age.

Jim Anderton said this meant they had low productivity compared to "normal" fish stocks. The low productivity and high vulnerability have led to concerns about the sustainability of these fisheries.

Full details of the new catch limits are available on the Ministry of Fisheries' website at


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