Tarakihi update

June 19, 2021

The High Court has ruled that in 2019 Stuart Nash, the then Minister of Fisheries, did not act legally when deciding on the management settings for tarakihi on the whole east coast.

Tarakihi and the environment in which they live have been decimated by years of trawling, with the stock collapsing to just 16% of its original unfished state. 

In the case taken by Forest & Bird, the Court found that the Minister did not properly consider his Ministry’s own guidelines on how long it would take for the fishery to rebuild, instead he took into account a voluntary long-term plan developed by commercial fishers and Te Ohu Kaimoana.  

Congratulations to Forest & Bird on this important win.

The High Court challenge follows on from our Time Out For Tarakihi campaign launched in 2018, when the first management review was underway. Over 9100 people supported the petition calling on the Minister to make a conservative decision so the tarakihi fish population would rebuild to abundant levels much faster than was being proposed by his Ministry. 

The Minister failed to take a precautionary approach in the 2018 and 2019 reviews and now the present Minister, David Parker, must make a fresh management decision for the future management of tarakihi. That decision needs to be made before October 1st 2021.

Timeline of events


19 June – Media release. LegaSea celebrates historic tarakihi legal decision

19 JuneArticle. High Court overturns Stuart Nash’s decision on tarakihi fishing limits. 

17 June – TV Interview. Forest & Bird say sustainability must be put ahead of commercial fishing interests. 

17 June – News item. Radio NZ. Court decision means less tarakihi on plates for now. 

17 June – Article. Call for industry to uphold Maori views on sustainable fishing practices. 

16 June – Media release. Forest & Bird. High Court victory for tarakihi recovery. 

16 June – Judgment. High Court decision responding to the judicial review of the Fisheries Minister’s 2019 management decisions for tarakihi. 


23-24 JulyHearing. High Court, Wellington. Judicial review taken by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. High Court decision, 2021. 


October – Management plan. Fishing industry tarakihi management plan approved by the Minister of Fisheries, subject of the High Court challenge. 


July – Aug.  LegaSea launch Time Out For Tarakihi campaign calling on the Minister to cut commercial catches by 65% to help rebuild the depleted stock.

Time Out for Tarakihi