|maka, makaa, mangaa (Maori), couta, snoek|
Barracouta is a worst choice fish. An alternative is
Barracouta is a relatively short-lived species that is related to gemfish. It is widely distributed in the Southern oceans and is abundant in New Zealand’s cooler waters south of Cook Strait, but also occurs in our northern waters, ranging from shallow inshore areas to depths of 200m. Once an undesirable bycatch species, barracouta are now an important part of trawl fishery catches.
Barracouta is caught by bottom and midwater trawling both as target and as bycatch (e.g. West Coast jack mackerel fishery). There are concerns over the damage done to large areas of the seabed by bottom trawling, poor knowledge of stock boundaries, limited research, lack of a management plan and uncertainty over the sustainability of the current catch limit and recent catches. In addition there is bycatch of New Zealand fur seals, seabirds and non-target fish. It is estimated that over 1160 seabirds are caught in the midwater fisheries which include barracoota.
Not certified under any scheme.
Main markets include South Africa (over 50%), Papua New Guinea and China. Total exports were worth $27.6 million in 2015.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Population size:||Unknown for all areas.|
|Annual catch limit:|| Limit set at 32,672 tonnes since 2001-02 but BAR 5 fishery is to increase from
1 October 2016 to a limit of 33,405 tonnes.
|Recorded catch:||Reported landings of 24,327 tonnes in 2014-15, the lowest catch in 10 years and well under the peak landings of 47,000 tonnes reported in 1977. The catch for BAR 5 has exceeded the TACC by up to 25% in five of the last ten years but has been well under the limit in the last 2 years.|
|Stock trends:||Uncertain in most areas. A decline in Southland was indicated from trawl surveys in the 1990s, but surveys have since been cancelled. Some catch-effort trend information in BAR 1 is available.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||“There are no stock assessments available for any barracoota stocks.” BAR 1: “Very likely to be at or above the target” and “Overfishing is unlikely to be occurring.” BAR5: “B2015 is very unlikely to be below the soft or hard limits.” For other stocks there is no information. (MPI, 2016, p86-88).|
|Distribution:||Mainly found off the South, Chatham, Stewart and Snares Islands to depths of 200m.|
|Maximum age (years):||10+|
|Age at sexual maturity:||2-3|
|Reproductive output:||High to very high|
|Age exploited:||3 (uncertain)|
|Ability to recover:||Moderate|
|Fishing method(s):||Barracouta is caught by bottom and midwater trawl as target and bycatch. In the BAR 1 fishery barracouta is taken as bycatch in the inshore trawl fisheries for red cod and tarakihi. In BAR 5 there is some target fishing or barracouta is bycatch of the squid and warehou fisheries. In BAR 5 it is targeted or taken as bycatch in the jack mackerel fishery.|
|Habitat damage:||Bottom trawling and midwater trawl gear fished near the seafloor damages the seabed. Bottom trawling bulldozes the sea floor, destroying complex biogenic structures including soft corals, sponges and long-lived bryozoans.|
|Habitat of particular significance:||hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Non-target fish species such as silver warehou and spiny dogfish.|
|Ecological effects:||Fishing for barracouta removes an important predator from food webs and could have wider ecological impacts.|
|Bycatch:||Over 1160 birds are caught in middle depth fisheries which includes catches of barracouta. This includes a significant bycatch in white-capped (shy) albatrosses, white-chinned petrels and sooty shearwaters. In addition, there is also the risk of capturing Hector’s dolphins in some fisheries. New Zealand sea lions are caught in fisheries that have barracoota as bycatch, e.g. squid. Protected coral species were reported caught in barracouta target tows in QMA 4. The corals reported caught in the target fishery include stony corals (Scleractinia) – which includes solitary small corals.|
|Management component:||Single species but stock boundaries need further research with overlap in some quota and boundaries.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1986.|
|Management plan:||Deepwater management plan for 2010-15 is out of date, and has yet to be reviewed and replaced. Barracouta is outside 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 full quantitative assessment. There are semi-quantitative estimates for BAR 1 and BAR 5 based on catch rates.|
|Research:||A 10-year planned deepwater research plan has been replaced (after 5 years) with an annual planning process with unclear commitments. Barracouta is a tier 2 species and no research is currently proposed.|
|Observer coverage:||8% for midwater fisheries, which is unlikely to be spatially or temporally representative of the fishing effort.|
Taken from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Plenary report for fisheries management.
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. Annual Review Report for Deepwater Fisheries for 2014/15. MPI Technical Paper No: 2016/09. Prepared by the Ministry for Primary Industries. March 2016. 103p. S.J. Baird, D. Tracey, S. Mormede, M. Clark (2013) The distribution of protected corals in New Zealand waters. Prepared for DOC, February 2013. 96p. MFish (2010) National Fisheries Plan for Deep-Water and Middle-Depth Fisheries, 2010. 51p. Hurst, R.J.; Ballara, S.L.; MacGibbon, D. (2012) Fishery characterisation and standardised CPUE analyse for barracouta, Thyrsites atun (Euphrasen, 1791) (Gempylidae), 1989-90 to 2007-08. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2012/13. 303 p.