A U.S. court has banned the export of some of the country's most popular kaimoana from two fisheries on the west coast of the North Island.
In an effort to safeguard the critically endangered habitats of the Māui dolphin the nonprofit organisation Sea Shepherd New Zealand took legal action under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Snapper, Tarakihi, Trevally and Hoki are among 9 species banned by the United States Court of International Trade, which covers West Coast North Island inshore trawl and set net fisheries.
Spotted dogfish, Warehou, Barracouta, Mullet and Gurnard derived from West Coast North Island multi-species set-net and trawl fisheries are also covered.
The court's decision "sends a strong signal to New Zealand and other countries that unless they can show their fisheries regulatory programme is comparable to the U.S. regulatory programme, they risk an import ban." according to Sea Shepherd chairman and CEO of Pritam Singh.
Fisheries Minister David Parker deferred to the Ministry for Primary Industries on potential next steps.
MPI said they would work with businesses to redirect products to other markets while the injunction was in place.
“We understand there will be a hearing next month for further arguments.” MPI’s manager of international fisheries management James Brown said.