Fishing by the rules
With so many people fishing, it is easy to see why there is
a need for rules that help to make sure there are enough
fish to go around.
Recreational catch is regulated by a range of rules. Some set out
how much a person can take each day – known as the daily bag
limit. Others set minimum size limits, or limit the fishing methods
that can be used. They are made to be simple, and usually apply
to a wide geographic area.
There are recreational rules for the five different geographic areas
– Auckland and Kermadec, Central, Southern Region, Challenger,
and Fiordland. These areas have many fish species and conditions
in common. The rules vary slightly from region to region to reflect
the abundance of fish and how fishers tend to catch them.
The Ministry publishes information on fishing rules, but it is the
responsibility of each fisher to make sure they know what they
are before heading out to fish.
Recreational fishing rules are reviewed on a regular basis,
particularly when there are signs that a fish stock or area may be
under stress. However, with lots of people chasing fish in popular
coastal areas, there can be depletion. This happens particularly
with species that mostly stay in the same area, like shellfish,
rock lobster, blue cod and hāpuka/bass. But, fishing pressure can
also affect the sustainability of some popular species that range
over a larger area, such as snapper and kingfish. Where this
happens, rules are changed to reduce the numbers of fish caught.
Commercial fishers must have a current fishing permit and are
subject to strict quotas or limits on how much they can catch,
whereas the restrictions on recreational fishers are relatively simple.
The three key things to remember are:
- Don’t take more than the daily limit
- Don’t take under-sized fish
- Don’t sell or trade your catch.
Only those people physically involved in taking finfish and rock
lobster can take catch up to the daily limit. The same goes for
shellfish with the exception of scallops. Divers collecting scallops
can take additional daily quota for up to two safety people per
vessel. Below are examples of daily bag limits, minimum size
limits and gear restrictions.
||Which fishing area
||Example of restrictions
||All fishing areas.
||10 per person per day.
||Minimum size 125 mm.
||SCUBA equipment may not
||Auckland and Kermadec Fishery Management Area.
||10 per person per day (West Coast). 9 per person per day (East Coast).
||The fish must be at least 27cm long at the centre of the 'V' formed by the tail
||Set net mesh must be at least 125mm.
||Southern Region Fishery Management Area.
||15 per person per day.
||The fish must be at least 40cm long at the centre of the 'V' formed by the tail
||Set net mesh must be at least 114mm.
||all fishing areas.
||50 per person per day.
||Fiordland (Te Moana o Attawhenua) Marine Area
||10 per person per day.
||No. Accumulation of scallop daily limits taken in this area.
Fishing rules for each region are available from MFish offices or at fish.govt.nz