Certifier : 
MRAG Americas, Inc.
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
08 Dec 2016
Certificate expires : 
07 Dec 2021


Around 60 percent of the total catch of New Zealand’s orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) has achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainable fishing practices and is now eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. New Zealand has the largest orange roughy fisheries in the world, representing around 80% of the global catch. 

The fisheries have made significant improvements to rebuild these once overfished species to stock levels which meet MSC’s high bar for sustainability. In partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand fishing industry has invested heavily in rebuilding orange roughy stocks through catch reductions, including setting this at times to zero, and a harvest strategy based on a comprehensive research plan.

Orange roughy are slow-growing, so fisheries managers must take this into account when making decisions on stock levels. The New Zealand Quota Management System, established in 1986, has allowed for this including closing fisheries at times to rebuild stocks faster.

Individuals can grow to 75cm, although the usual catch size is between 35 and 45cm. The fish are caught with bottom trawls, generally between 800 to 1,200m.

Bottom trawls are used in the fisheries. Annually less than 0.03% of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone is trawled for orange roughy. Fishers return to the same tows each year. 

Download a factsheet about New Zealand orange roughy >

Read about the history of the New Zealand orange roughy fisheries >