Blue Grenadier

Latin name: Macruronus novaezelandiae

Common names: Cod, Hoki

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Wild Caught

New Zealand

Key Facts

  • Stocks of blue grenadier are healthy in NZ, but threatened species bycatch and habitat damage are key concerns.
  • Catches of seabirds (including albatross, shearwaters and petrels) increased to the highest in a decade in 2014-15. Salvin’s and white-capped albatross are being caught at levels that could cause further population declines. Use of mitigation devices that reduce seabird interactions are in place, although it is unclear if devices are proving successful.
  • Trawling is conducted in areas that are not well mapped. Trawlers catch sensitive bottom-dwelling species that have a long recovery time, such as hard corals and sea fans.

More information

  • New Zealand Hoki Fishery (136,719t caught in 2015-16; 9,994t imported into Australia in 2016)

Blue grenadier is managed as two separate stocks in New Zealand fisheries. The Hoki fishery has recovered from historic overfishing, and stocks have been stable above sustainable levels for several years.

There are significant concerns over threatened species bycatch and habitat damage in this fishery. The New Zealand blue grenadier fishery catches a number of endangered seabird species, including white-capped, Buller’s and Salvin’s albatross, petrels and shearwaters. Risk assessments have identified that Salvin’s albatross is at risk of further population decline and white-capped albatross are in decline as a result of fishing activities.Seabird bycatch has not declined over the last decade, with recorded seabird captures in 2014-15 the highest in that period. Use of mitigation devices that reduce seabird interactions are in place; bycatch of seabirds has declined from 2015, but continues to be unacceptably high and likely resulting in the ongoing decline of threatened and protected seabirds.

In addition to seabirds, the fishery also captures seven species of deepwater sharks (known as dogfish). The biology of these species are poorly known, but are potentially vulnerable to overfishing due to their slow growth rates and low reproductive output.

Blue grenadier is trawled both on and above the seafloor over a large area of NZ’s oceans. Seabed mapping of the trawled area is limited, but sensitive seafloor-dwelling species (corals and sea fans) have been identified in both mapped areas and in trawl nets, which means that fishing activity is directly threatening these long-lived and sensitive species. There are few areas protected within hoki trawl depths, although Marine Protected Area Network planning is underway in NZ, which should protect sensitive marine habitat.