A report from economic researchers, BERL shows New Zealand’s commercial fishing industry is worth $4.18 billion.

Chief Executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Dr Jeremy Helson, says the report confirms the importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries says exports alone are expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2025. Add the contribution to the domestic market through jobs, investment in infrastructure and the sectors supporting the industry and you have a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy,” said Helson.

The report, which measured a five year average, showed 13,468 people were directly employed in fishing and seafood processing alone, which is 0.7 percent of all New Zealand employment.

Seafood is New Zealand’s fifth largest export by value and represents 3.2 percent of total exports.

The report includes fishing and seafood harvesting for deep water, inshore, highly migratory species and shellfish, but excludes aquaculture, which has revenues of another $500 million.

“In the inshore fishery, snapper is the top commercial catch, and rock lobster and paua the highest value shellfish species,” said Helson.

The largest deep water commercial catch was of hoki and this species alone accounts for 38 percent of the deep water fisheries value.

Seafood processing (excluding aquaculture) is a significant contributor to the economy and employed 9356 FTEs.

“It is about jobs – and particularly jobs in regional New Zealand. The better the industry does, the better off fishing communities are around the country,” said Helson.

The report shows the regions benefiting most from the seafood processing industry are Canterbury, Nelson-Tasman-Marlborough, and Auckland.

The report was derived from catch data supplied by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The report; The economic contribution of commercial fishing to the New Zealand economy is available here

And a summary of the report is available here