Where the photic zone is a biological steady-state, the downward flux of organic material across the pycnocline to the interior of the ocean is thought to be balanced by upward turbulent flux of inorganic nitrogen across the nutricline. This model ignores a significant downward dissolved nitrogen flux caused by the diel vertical migration of interzonal zooplankton and nekton that feed in the photic zone at night and excrete nitrogenous compounds at depth by day. In the oligotrophic ocean this flux can be equivalent to the flux of particulate organic nitrogen from the photic zone in the form of faecal pellets and organic flocculates. Where nitrogen is the limiting plant nutrient, and the flux by diel migration of interzonal plankton is significant compared to other nitrogen exports from the photic zone, there must be an upward revision of previous estimates for the ratio of new to total primary production in the photic zone if a nutrient balance is to be maintained. This upward revision is of the order 5-100% depending on the oceanographic regime.