Principal Commercial Species
Since 1951, when the total landed catch was 408,365 cwt, the total quantity landed has gradually increased until in 1964 it was 589,384 cwt. The principal species have been snapper and tarakihi which together comprise approximately 50 per cent of the total quantity landed. The approximate percentages of the most abundant species are as follows:
|Snapper 27||Trevally 8||Elephant fish 4|
|Tarakihi 20||Blue cod 4||Sole 3|
|Gurnard 13||Hapuku 5||Flounder 2|
Apart from blue cod and hapuku which are mainly line caught, the other species referred to are taken principally by trawling. Snapper occur mainly from Tasman Bay northwards on the west coast to North Cape, and southwards on the east coast from North Cape to Napier in the water out to about 40 fathoms. Tarakihi occur principally in the waters beyond 40 fathoms and are taken mainly off the east coast from the Bay of Plenty to Dunedin. The sea is shallower on the west coast, where fishing takes place, and this could be the reason why catches of tarakihi have not been so great. Gurnard, too, has a general distribution in the shallower waters, but show particularly in the commercial catch at Napier and Timaru. Elephant fish, which occur principally in the South Island east coast waters, form the basis of an important trawl fishery in the Canterbury area, both to the north and to the south of Banks Peninsula.
Blue cod and hapuku, which are mainly associated with rocky bottoms, are caught principally by line methods. Cook Strait is the principal centre of the hapuku fishery, but this species is caught also at many other localities, including Akaroa. The Bluff-Stewart Island area and also the Chatham Islands are the principal line-fishing areas for blue cod.
The production of flatfish species is confined to the shallower waters. Flounders are taken by set nets in the Kaipara Harbour, in the Firth of Thames, and in Lake Ellesmere, while they form a significant part of the trawl catch in the shallower waters along the Canterbury coast. There is also a significant flounder fishery at Te Waewae Bay in Southland and, where the bottom is suitable, in the vicinity of Waikawa. Lemon soles are the major commercial trawl fishery on the Otago coast. English soles predominate in the areas off Greymouth and also Hawke Bay.