Guidelines on daily limits
It is important that all recreational fishers know the limits, and help conserve the resource.
Only those people physically involved in taking finfish, rock lobster, or shellfish are entitled to claim a catch within the daily limit.
You should also be aware of the restrictions on the fishing gear and methods you can use.The fishing limits are different for the four main recreational fishing areas. To find out the limits for your area, please click on the appropriate area.
Daily Limits for Recreational Fishers
The Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 set out the maximum number of finfish, shellfish and rock lobster which may be taken or possessed by any one person, in any day. This means that a person who accumulates more than his/her daily limit will be charged with breaches of the regulations.
In addition, Regulation 20 provides offences for any person to possess below the high water mark or land from any vessel paua, scallops or dredge oysters, in such a state that they cannot be measured. That means that those shellfish remain in the shell until landed from a boat.
Regulation 29(3)(a), however, provides a defence for any person charged with being in possession of more than the maximum number of finfish, shellfish or rock lobster, if the person satisfies the Court that the excess was not taken in breach of the regulations. This places an onus on the person charged, to prove that in the case of trip of two or more days, only the daily limit or less was taken on each day.
It is not the policy of the Ministry of Fisheries to charge every person found in breach of the amateur regulations. Fishery Officers will apply the fair and reasonable rule in such cases, but will expect a person to be cooperative and frank, and will require them to answer pertinent questions, supply proof if necessary, and such other information which will satisfy the Fishery Officer and the Ministry that if that person was charged, the defence available in Regulation 29(3)(a) would apply. If the Ministry is not satisfied with the explanation given, consideration will be given to prosecuting that person to test the defence in Court.
Except for Regulation 20, the same rules apply to a person who takes finfish, shellfish or rock lobster over a period of two or more days during a land-based trip.