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Advocacy nz sport fishing council

Fisheries Management

Marlin & Tuna

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has expended a substantial amount of time and resources over many years to protect the non-commercial fishing and environmental interests of all New Zealanders.

A significant focus has been on ensuring the concerns of fishers are heard by government and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

While there are particular concerns around the management of tuna in the Pacific, affecting availability in New Zealand waters, the availability of marlin is a reflection of the effort that has gone into retaining marlin as a non-commercial species. 

The NZ Sport Fishing Council (formerly called NZ Big Game Fishing Council), with help from it’s member clubs in 1987, succeeded in convincing the fisheries Minister to prohibit Japanese and Korean longliners accessing northern New Zealand waters from 1 October to 31 May.

Eventually all commercial fishers were prohibited from landing the three marlin species, shortbilled spearfish and sailfish in New Zealand fisheries waters, out to 200 nautical miles. 

In 1987 almost all marlin caught by sport fishers were killed. The Council introduced, through the clubs, a voluntary mimimum weight of 90 kg.

Nowadays, about 60% of marlin caught by anglers are tagged and released.  Satellite tags have shown that survival of lure caught fish is high following release.

A summary of the advocacy for marlin & tuna, the Billfish MOU and details of commercial catch of yellowfin tuna has been documented in 'Advocacy - Marlin & Tuna'.


Visit the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council's Fisheries Management site for further info.

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commercial caught marlin

Image: Alex Hoffard. Greenpeace