The 2000-01 billfishery generated significant economic benefits for New Zealand, both regionally and nationally despite being a relatively poor billfish season. There were strong easterly winds for long periods and inconsistent fishing success. In total 577 face to face interviews were conducted from nine fishing ports in northern New Zealand between 7 January and 14 June 2001.
Total expenditure by billfishers in 2000-01 was $65 million, of which $13 million was expenditure by overseas fishers. More than half of billfish expenditure is related to spending on vessels and associated items. However, significant expenditure also occurs on travel, food and beverages, charter fees, fishing equipment and maintenance.
The billfishery has its greatest economic impact in Northland and the Bay of Plenty. Expenditure by billfishers in Northland was $34 million, and in the Bay of Plenty expenditure was $27 million. A total expenditure of $3 million occurred in the billfishery in other regions.
The additional economic activity generated by the billfishery is significant. On a nation-wide basis, and taking into account indirect production effects and induced consumption effects, the economic contribution of the billfishery is estimated to generate $17 million in gross output, 151 full time equivalent jobs and a further $8.4 million in value added.
Within Northland, the expenditure by billfishers (visiting from elsewhere in New Zealand or overseas) generates $12 million in value added, 116 full time equivalent jobs and $7 million in value added.
Within the Bay of Plenty, the expenditure by billfishers (visiting from elsewhere in New Zealand or overseas) generates $5 million in value added, 48 full time equivalent jobs and $3 million in value added.
The 2000-01 billfishery was badly affected by poor weather conditions and both participation and expenditure will have been lower than in an average fishing season. Therefore, the economic impacts measured in this survey probably underestimate the full economic impact of the billfishery in a typical year.