New Zealand's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) covers 4.4 million square kilometres which is the 6th largest in the world. Approximately 16,000 marine species have been identified in this area and 130 species are commercially fished. The Quota Management System* (QMS) limits the total quantity of fish taken by commercial fishers. The total quantity of commercial fish that can be taken for each QMS fishery is known as the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC).

Deepwater and middle-depth fisheries are located between 12 nautical miles and 200 nautical miles offshore – out to the limit of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone. Commercially fished species include hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, jack mackerel, squid, oreo, and orange roughy.

Over 200,000 tonnes of fish are caught from deepwater fisheries each year. The fisheries were worth an estimated $660 million in export earnings in 2016.