Pink Ling

Latin name: Genypterus blacodes

Common name: Ling

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Wild Caught

New Zealand

Note: Choose Pink ling from the New Zealand longline fishery. If you can’t be sure, if there is only NZ trawl caught then choose a sustainable alternative below.

Key Facts

  • In Australia, pink ling is caught in trawl and line fisheries managed by the Commonwealth Government. Recent research has identified two stocks of pink ling, which are currently managed as a single unit. The eastern stock is depleted, although the western zone stock appears healthier.
  • There are significant concerns about the trawl fishery’s impacts on sensitive marine habitats and the bycatch of threatened species, including deep sea gulper sharks.
  • Pink ling are caught using trawls and longlines in NZ.
  • Catches of seabirds (including albatross, shearwaters and petrels) have increased in both the trawl and longline fishery. Catches of Salvin's albatross (IUCN listed as 'Vulnerable') have increased and are being caught at levels that could cause further population declines. Use of mitigation devices that reduce seabird interactions are in place in the trawl fishery, 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

  • Imported New Zealand (14,654t caught 2015-16; 1,149t imported into Australia in 2016)

Pink ling are a benthic predatory finfish found on the continental shelf and slope throughout southern Pacific and Atlantic ocean basins, and are most commonly caught at depths from 200-900m. Juveniles tend to occur in shallower waters than adults. Pink ling occur over a variety of substrates, from rock ground to soft sand and mud in which they burrow.

In New Zealand, pink ling is caught in trawl fisheries that mainly target hoki (blue grenadier), as well as on longlines.  Estimate of stock status in New Zealand indicates healthy stocks in most fishing areas. There is a high bycatch of threatened seabirds in both the trawl and longline fisheries.

There is some concern about overlapping distribution of trawl areas and sensitive marine habitats. Trawling sometimes takes place on areas of seafloor that support sponges, hard corals and bryozoans (small invertebrates that form colonies similar to coral reefs) and it is unclear how much trawling activity is resulting in damage to habitats and associated species.

The trawl 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 increased over time, with recorded seabird captures in 2014-15 the highest in a decade. Bycatch of Salvin’s albatross (which are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List) and sooty shearwaters increased in this fishery in 2010-11. Risk assessments have identified that Salvin’s albatross is at risk of further population decline as a result of fishing activities. 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.

The rate of seabird interactions (the numbers of seabirds caught per fishing hook) has increased since 2013 in the longline fishery. In particular, Salvin’s albatross populations may be declining as a result of this fishery. Salvin’s albatross is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.

Pink ling 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, sensitive species. The impacts of longline fishing are less understood but are likely lower than trawl fishing. There are few areas protected within fishing depths, although Marine Protected Area Network planning is underway in NZ, which should protect sensitive marine habitats.