August 2011
This is the final report for INT2010-03, learn about the distribution of protected corals in relation to commercial fishing effort.



Observed data from commercial trawlers were used to identify the fisheries and areas fished where there have been incidental catches of coral in trawl nets. Three years of observed trawl data (2007–08 to 2009–10) indicated that about 10% of the 21 259 observed tows had catch records of corals. The corals reported and verified were combined into nine groups. The most frequently recorded were black corals (Antipatharia), stony branching corals and stony cup corals (Scleractinia), bamboo corals and bubblegum corals (Gorgonacea). Least recorded were precious corals (Gorgonacea) and hydrocorals (Stylasteridae).

Most coral records were from fishing effort in 800–1200 m depths, with over 80% from tows that targeted orange roughy, black oreo (Allocyttus niger), smooth oreo (Pseudocyttus maculatus), and black cardinalfish (Epigonus telescopus). Overall, 19% of observed deepwater tows for these target species had coral catch records. Outside the New Zealand 200 n. mile Exclusive Economic Zone, protected corals were recorded from almost 50% of the observed effort. Within New Zealand waters, most corals were reported from eastern waters, generally south of 42° S. Specific fishing grounds for orange roughy and oreo species could be identified from the location of the observed coral catches. In shallower middle depths areas the target species with coral catches included hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) and scampi (Metanephrops challengeri) on the Chatham Rise, west of 180°.

Publication information

Prepared by: Di Tracey, Susan Jane Baird, Brian Sander and Murray H. Smith (NIWA) for Marine Conservation Services, Department of Conservation


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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