Total Allowable Commercial Catch
Each year, scientists and industries work together to assess the population size of all major commercial fish species in their major fishing grounds. These zones are called Quota Management Areas (QMAs).
Using the assessment data, the Minister of Fisheries then sets an annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit for each QMA. The TAC is set conservatively so that enough fish remain to propagate future populations.
In fisheries where non-commercial users are involved (e.g. traditional Maori or recreational fishers), a quantity of stock is set aside for them before the commercial (TACC) catch is set.
Each year the TACC is set in volume (tons) and can vary from year to year. It is divided into a number of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ’s), which effectively are the rights to fish a defined portion of the TACC.