looking after rock lobster fisheries
New Zealand rock lobsters found around our coastline and offshore islands, are referred to as "crayfish", a name more correctly applied to freshwater species. They are often fished by commercial, recreational and by Maori customary fishers.
The sustainable management of our rock lobster fisheries is supported by an extensive research programme and an enforcement and compliance regime.
What can you do to look after the fishery?
We ask all fishers to comply with the regulations so there will be plenty of rock lobsters for future generations.
- Rock lobster that must be returned to the sea should be done so immediately and with care to maximise their chances of survival.
- Know the size limits, bag limits and other fishing rules for your area.
- Avoid grasping rock lobster by their legs or the antennae.
- Legs and feelers are easily detached and injured lobsters seldom survive.
- Do not take female rock lobsters with their tails tucked in underneath them; they are carrying thousands of eggs.
- Lobster rapidly go blind in sunlight. Measure them as soon as they leave the water and quickly return illegal lobster to where they can find shelter.
- Pots should not be left baited and unattended for more than 24 hours. Octopus can enter pots and will kill any rock lobster that cannot escape.