|tiikati, paara, hikau, para-taharangi (Maori), cutlassfish.|
Frostfish is a worst choice, avoid eating seafood.
This relatively short-lived species is widely distributed around the world. In New Zealand it is normally found over the outer shelf in waters 200-500m deep. It is mainly caught as bycatch (more than 90%) in trawl fisheries for jack mackerel and hoki, and to a lesser extent in the arrow squid, barracouta and gemfish fisheries. Half are caught off the West Coast of the South Island and Taranaki Bight in mid-water trawl fisheries.
Frostfish are caught by bottom trawling. There are concerns over the benthic impact of bottom trawling. Other concerns include the lack of research (including the absence of some basic biological information), the unknown sustainability of recent catches and the uncertainty about stock structure plus the lack of a management plan. As a bycatch species of other fisheries, marine mammals, non-target fish and seabird bycatch are also serious concerns. It is estimated that 192 fur seals are captured in the hoki trawl fishery (5 year average), one observed nationally critical New Zealand sea lion capture, about 1420 seabirds a year, including cryptic species such as salvins, southern Buller’s albatross and white-capped albatross, sooty shearwater, white-chinned petrel, and cape petrel. Other bycatch species include vulnerable deepwater sharks, skates and some other elasmobranchs. In the jack mackerel fishery there is an estimated capture of 25 common dolphins per year (5-year average) and six New Zealand fur seals per year. The fishing area may also overlap with the offshore range of Maui’s dolphins, posing a possible risk to this critically endangered species.
Not certified under any scheme.
Exported principally to Korea.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Annual catch limit:||Limit set at 4,019 tonnes since 2006-07.|
|Recorded catch:||Reported landings of 2322 tonnes in 2014-15.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||“Estimates of current and reference biomass are not available. The stock structure is uncertain; the fishery is variable and almost entirely a bycatch of other target fisheries. No age data or estimates of abundance are available. It is therefore not possible to estimate yields. It is not known if recent catches are sustainable or whether they are at levels that will allow the stock to move towards a size that will support the maximum sustainable yield.” (MPI, 2016, p366).|
|Distribution:||Widely dispersed around New Zealand but mainly caught off the west coasts of both main islands.|
|Maximum age (years):||8|
|Age at sexual maturity:||Unknown|
|Ability to recover:||High|
|Fishing method(s):||Frostfish is caught by a mixture of mid-water and bottom trawl fisheries as bycatch. It is primarily caught in the hoki (60%) and jack mackerel (20%) fisheries but also in arrow squid (8%), barracouta and gemfish fisheries. On the West Coast jack mackerel can represent 50% of landings. Only 2% of fishing is targeted on frostfish.|
|Habitat damage:||There is considerable damage to seafloor communities when caught by bottom trawl or midwater trawls which touch the bottom in the hoki, jack mackerel and other trawl fisheries. Impacts include habitat modification, loss of biodiversity, loss of benthic productivity and modification of important breeding and juvenile fish habitat. The trawl footprint area and contact areas vary but the Snares Shelf area, the Auckland Islands shelf, West Coast South Island, and NW and SW Chatham Rise were identified as amongst the highest frequency trawled areas in the New Zealand zone.|
|Habitat of particular significance:||Hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Non-target fish species bycatch is also a problem and includes quota species hake, ling and silver warehou, which are caught in West Coast hoki fisheries.|
|Ecological effects:||The effect of this fishery, combined with the hoki and jack mackerel fisheries, contribute towards multiple seafloor and water column community impacts.|
|Bycatch:||Frostfish is primarily caught as bycatch in the hoki and jack mackerel fisheries, which also include New Zealand fur seal, common dolphins and seabird bycatch of concern. It is estimated that 192 fur seals are captured in the hoki fishery (5-year average). Based on the recent catch spread of hoki, the main captures occur in the Cook Strait (54%), off West Coast of the South Island (24%), off east coast of the South Island and Chatham Rise (15%). The hoki fishery catches about half of the estimated fur seals caught by trawling. The sub-Antarctic and Snares Shelf hoki fishery has a low capture rate for nationally critical New Zealand sea lions of about one a year. The trawl fishery also captures about 1420 seabirds a year (5-year average) and the main species are salvins, southern Buller’s albatross and white-capped albatross, sooty shearwater, white-chinned petrel, and cape petrels. Protected coral species are also reported caught in hoki tows in most quota areas. The corals caught include gorgonian, hydrocorals, black corals (Antipatharia) and stony corals (Scleractinia) – which includes reef-like, tree-like, and solitary small corals. Other bycatch species include vulnerable deepwater sharks (e.g. shovelnose dogfish, seal shark and Baxter’s dogfish). These low productivity species also include threatened basking sharks (observed at one per year, but could be higher), deepsea skates and some other elasmobranchs. In the jack mackerel fishery bycatch of concern includes common dolphins (about 25 per year in the last 5 years), long-finned pilot whales, fur seals (about 6 per year). The trawl fishery may also overlap with the offshore range of Maui’s dolphins, posing a possible risk to this critically endangered species.|
|Management component:||Single species but the stock structure is uncertain. There may be three or four spawning areas which may indicate poor fit with quota areas.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1998.|
|Management plan:||Deepwater management plan for 2010-15 is out of date, and has yet to be reviewed and replaced. Frostfish are seen as a bycatch species in the hoki part of the current plan. There is no operational plan, and the old deepwater plan lacks key environmental standards. The National Plans of Action on Seabirds and Sharks are more relevant to bycatch issues but they are slow to be implemented.|
|Stock assessment:||No quantitative stock assessments.|
|Research:||A 10-year planned deepwater research plan has been replaced (after 5 years) with an annual planning process with unclear commitments.|
|Observer coverage:||27% in the hoki fishery and 38% in the jack mackerel fishery.|
Report from the Fishery Assessment plenary, May 2016: stock assessments and yield estimates. Part 1: Introductory Section to Hoki, Science Group, Ministry for Primary Industries; Ministry for Primary Industries (2016) Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Annual Review 2015. Compiled by the Fisheries Management Science Team, Ministry for Primary Industries. 682p. The Guidebook to New Zealand Commercial Fish Species, 2007 Revised Edition, The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Ltd. Seafood NZ, 2016. New Zealand Seafood Exports to December 2015. 133p. Bagley, N.W.; Schofield, K.A.; Colman, J.A. (1998) A summary of biological and commercial landings, and a stock assessment of the frostfish Lepidopus caudatus Euphrasen, 1788 (Pisces: Trichiuridae), in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Research Document 1998/23. 28 p. (Unpublished document held in NIWA library.) Horn, P.L. (2013). Age determination of frostfish (Lepidopus caudatus) off west coast South Island. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2013/21. 24 p.