New Zealand is rightfully proud of its fishery, with our pristine waters, world-class environmental practices and well-deserved reputation for quality and food safety.

New Zealand has access to over 4 million square kilometres of marine fisheries waters, ranging over 30 degrees of latitude from the sub-tropical Kermadec Islands to the subantarctic Campbell Islands; New Zealand has the fourth largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world.

Annually NZ only fishes 1-2 percent of our EEZ and produces over 600,000 metric tonnes of sustainable seafood. In total, 96% of New Zealand's territory is underwater, and 30% of our total marine environment is protected. We have 105 marine protected areas (MPA), including 17 seamount closures, 17 benthic protected areas, 44 marine reserves and 8 marine mammal sanctuaries.

New Zealand’s benthic protection area (BPA) network and seamount closures cover an area 4.6 times larger than the country’s landmass. It is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

Since 2007, 17 areas within our EEZ have been closed to all types of trawling, and since 1989, less than 10% of the New Zealand seabed has been trawled. Marine Stewardship Council ( MSC) is an organisation dedicated to safeguarding the seafood supply for today, and for the future.  The blue tick label is an assurance to customers that they are purchasing seafood managed and caught in a sustainable manner. 

New Zealand operates under a world-leading Quota Management System (QMS).  This was established in 1986 to ensure the sustainable use of fishery resources through New Zealand’s Economic Zone (EEZ) by controlling the harvest of each species in nominated geographic areas.  169 species are commercially fished in New Zealand.  98 of those species in 642 stock areas are managed under the QMS.  New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world with an internationally competitive fishing industry that uses natural resources on a sustainable basis.


New Zealand marine farmers follow best practices developed by the industry to meet the growing global demand for safe, healthy seafood products.

The New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussel Environmental Code of Practice (2007) directs best industry practices throughout the growing and harvesting cycle to minimise potential effects on the environment.

To mitigate environmental impacts the New Zealand government has a number of environmental controls in place, including the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and the Fisheries Act 1996.

The planning and approval process for coastal aquaculture in New Zealand considers the farm’s potential environmental effects, as well as its possible cultural and social effects.

These processes are run by regional councils under the Resource Management Act (RMA). This is the principal New Zealand law governing coastal management and the growth and management of coastal uses, including aquaculture.

Regional councils will set conditions around farm operations and will monitor farms to ensure compliance.

The New Zealand marine farmer’s safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly practices have been recognised by the International Conservation Organisation Blue Ocean Institute, ranking New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels as one of the top two ‘eco-friendly seafoods’ in the world.

Blue Ocean systematically evaluates aquaculture operations based on five principal criteria:  inherent operational risks, feed composition, pollution, risk to other species and ecological effects.