Oreodory


Latin names: Allocyttus spp., Pseudocyttus spp., Oreosoma spp., Neocyttus spp.


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Wild Caught

Region:
New Zealand, Commonwealth waters

Key Facts

  • Australian and New Zealand fisheries catch multiple species of oreodories, which are a group of long-lived, slow growing and deep-sea fish that are vulnerable to overfishing.
  • There is serious concern some stocks are overfished in NZ and low confidence in the information from Australia, as oreodory stocks are poorly understood and scientific stock assessments do not exist or are outdated for key stocks.
  • Oreodories are caught using deep-sea bottom trawlers, which damage deep-water habitat that supports slow growing communities (such as corals). These affected habitats are extremely sensitive to disturbance and could take centuries to recover.

More information

  • Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl Sector)  (156t 2016-17)
  • Imported from New Zealand (8,111t caught in 2015-16; 247t imported into Australia in 2016)

The name ‘oreodory’ refers to a group of species that can live to over 100 years, are slow-growing and tend to inhabit deep-water areas. The Australian and New Zealand fisheries catch multiple species of oreodory, which are managed together rather than as separate species. This can make it challenging to identify if there are issues in the stock of a single species. Little is known about their biology, and little investment has been made by either country into updating out-of-date stock assessments or filling the gaps for unmeasured stocks.

Oreodories are both targeted by commercial fishing operations and caught as bycatch in fisheries targeting orange roughy.

There are serious concerns that some stocks in NZ are overfished, or being fished too heavily.  Fishery managers have responded by setting cuts to the amount of catch allowed in some areas to take some pressure off stocks; due to the species’ long life history, it is unclear whether these management measures will be successful in supporting the rebuilding of these populations.

Oreodories are not considered overfished in Australian waters by the Australian Government, however there is low confidence in this assessment, as oreodory stocks are poorly understood and scientific stock assessments do not exist or are outdated for key stocks.

Oreodories are caught using deep-sea bottom trawlers over seamounts. The area of Australia where they are currently caught has not been mapped, but research has identified that deep-water marine habitats support species that are generally slow growing and highly sensitive to disturbance, in particular, deep-water corals. Recovery from the impacts of trawling on deep-sea habitats could take centuries.