Welcome to the MARLIN Metadata Database.


The Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand owns (on behalf of the Government) a large amount of data that describes New Zealand's marine fisheries and biodiversity. The most common examples of such data include electronic databases, paper forms, whole specimens and ageing specimens - mainly otoliths.

MARLIN is a metadata database documenting the scientific data owned by the Ministry. MARLIN is intended to provide scientists with a catalogue of the Ministry's scientific data holdings. Currently MARLIN does not enable the downloading of source data (although this is a planned future enhancement), however MARLIN does provide details of where requests for access to the Ministry's scientific data should be directed to.

There are four main components to MARLIN:

  1. A searchable catalogue of the data sets, originating from Ministry contracted scientific research projects that are now stored in Ministry data repositories. The Ministry contracts for over 100 scientific research projects each year and many of these projects generate more than one type of data. There are over 1000 records of such datasets stored in MARLIN and these records are searchable by a variety of fields including data type, species code and project code.
  2. A searchable catalogue of otoliths, length frequency samples, and conversion factor tests, collected by fisheries observers. These records are searchable by species code, area and date (and processed state in the case of conversion factor tests).
  3. A description of other types of scientific/research data held by the Ministry that are not catalogued elsewhere within MARLIN.
  4. A list of the codes used within New Zealand to describe species and areas. Note that the Ministry does not use the same species codes as the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

MARLIN does not contain a catalogue of scientific reports or publications describing New Zealand's marine fisheries and biodiversity. Suggested places to begin looking for information on reports and publications include the Ministry for Primary Industries website http://www.mpi.govt.nz, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric (NIWA) research's library http://library.niwa.co.nz. (You may be required to register for this service) This site provides search access to online library databases with over 130,000 records. About 85,000 of these records are the SIRIS database, and includes indexed papers by authors from NIWA and predecessor organisations. That includes all the Fisheries Assessment Reports (FARs), Fishery Assessment Research Documents (FARDs) and other MAFFish series. Final research reports, which are unpublished documents, are not included.