||Invertebrate catches are increasing globally following the depletion of many finfish stocks, yet stock assessments and management plans for invertebrates are limited, as is an understanding of the ecosystem effects of these fisheries. Using an ecosystem modelling approach, we explored the trade-offs between invertebrate catches and their impacts on the associated ecosystem on the south coast of Wellington, New Zealand. We simulated exploitation of lobster (Jasus edwardsii), abalone (Haliotis australis, H. iris), and sea urchin (Evechinus chloroticus) over a range of depletion levels—from no depletion to local extinction—to estimate changes in target catches and associated effects on other species groups, trophic levels, and benthic and pelagic components. Exploitation of lobster showed the strongest ecosystem effects, followed by abalone and urchin. In all three fisheries, the current exploitation rate exceeds that which produces maximum sustainable yield, with considerable ecosystem effects. Interestingly, a reduced exploitation rate is predicted to increase target catches (and catch-per-unit-effort), thereby strongly reducing ecosystem effects, a win–win situation. Our results suggest that invertebrate exploitation clearly influences ecosystem structure and function, yet the direction and magnitude of responses depend on the target group and exploitation rate. An ecosystem-based fisheries management approach that includes the role of invertebrates would improve the conservation and management of invertebrate resources and marine ecosystems on broader scales.