Support national action for sharks in New Zealand
IntroductionHave your say on a new national plan to protect and conserve sharks found in New Zealand's waters. Submissions closed on 13 September 2022.
About this consultation
DOC and Fisheries New Zealand have drafted a revised national action plan to protect and conserve sharks species found in New Zealand. It is called the National Plan of Action on Sharks (NPOA – Sharks 2022).
This plan is a revision of our the National Plan of Action for Sharks, 2013. To develop the draft, we took advice from the Sharks Advisory Group which has representatives from government agencies, environmental groups, commercial and recreational fishers, and Te Ohu Kaimoana.
What is in the draft plan?
The draft NPOA – Sharks 2022 builds on two previous plans. It summarises:
- what we know about sharks,
- the cultural significance of sharks to Māori,
- the economic importance of commercially targeted shark species, and
- how we can reduce captures of protected and unwanted sharks.
Vision and goals
The proposed vision statement in the draft plan is:
“New Zealanders work toward ensuring the long-term viability, biodiversity and functional role of sharks in our marine ecosystems, and that any utilisation of sharks in Aotearoa is sustainable”.
The draft document aims to make sure that the plan's goals are achievable, measurable, and clear and easily understood. At a high level, these include:
- ensuring biodiversity and ecological long-term viability of shark populations;
- ensuring full utilisation of retained sharks;
- avoiding protected and unwanted shark captures, and maximising post release survival;
- managing non-fishing threats to sharks and their habitats;
- better integration of tāngata whenua perspectives and values in shark management;
- maintaining and developing international engagement regarding shark management; and
- improving research, data and information regarding sharks and their habitats.
A focus on education
Sharks face a wide range of threats, including interactions with fisheries. The New Zealand Government’s commitment to reducing interactions with fisheries is set out in the NPOA – Sharks 2022.
A key focus of the draft NPOA – Sharks 2022 is on education and ensuring that all fishers take all practicable steps to minimise the risk to sharks. This includes commercial, recreational, and customary fishers.
Sharks in New Zealand
New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is home to at least 113 species of shark.
The term ‘shark’, as used in these documents, refers to all sharks, rays, skates, chimaeras, and other members of the Class Chondrichthyes.
As apex predators, sharks play important roles in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems. Sharks also share biological characteristics such as late maturing and low reproduction rate that can make them susceptible to over-fishing.
There are seven protected species of sharks found in New Zealand:
- Basking shark
- Smalltooth sandtiger shark
- Oceanic whitetip shark
- Giant manta ray
- Spine-tailed devil ray
- Whale shark
- White shark
DOC has statutory responsibilities under the Wildlife Act 1953 to protect and conserve these species.
Your feedback will help
Your feedback on the draft NPOA - Sharks 2022 will inform the final version of the document.
We want to know if you think that the vision, goals and objectives as drafted will support shark management, and on how it will measure progress and achievements.
Submissions will help to review the current draft and prepare the final plan to support sharks in New Zealand.
How to submit your feedback
Submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday, 13 September 2022.
- Read the draft National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2022 (PDF, 4,082K)
- Email your submission to FMSubmissions@mpi.govt.nz
While Fisheries New Zealand prefer submissions by email, you can post your written submission to:
NPOA – Sharks 2022
Fisheries New Zealand
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
For more information on submissions, visit Fisheries New Zealand website
Your comments may be released publicly
All comments are subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and can be released under that Act. If you have specific reasons for wanting to have your comments withheld, explain your reasons in the comment. Your reasons will be considered when making any assessment for the release of comments under the Official Information Act.
What happens next
DOC and Fisheries New Zealand will review all submissions. They will then report back to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries and the Minister of Conservation on the feedback, with recommendations for their consideration. Your submissions will help inform policy decisions that will be included in any proposed amendments.
If you have any questions: