Marine groups welcome smaller bag limits for recreational fishers

April 20, 2022

Media release
April 20, 2022

Recreational fishers and marine conservationists are embracing revised bag limit rules for recreational fishers as a logical step toward sustainable fish populations.

Under the revised rules, all finfish, except baitfish, including those with species limits like snapper, are now included in the daily recreational bag limit. This is a step forward from the previous version of the rules, where some species like pink maomao and other reef species were outside the finfish bag limit requirement and subsequently had no limits. This resulted in incidences of excessive individual catch by some individuals being reported around the country.

“I’ve spoken to a number of fishers and boaties today, and they’re all in total agreement this is the right thing to do.” says New Zealand Sport Fishing Council president Bob Gutsell.

“As recreational fishers, we’re happy to do our bit to try to save our oceans and promote sustainable harvest levels and techniques.

“We’re at the point where some marine species are on the verge of being wiped out by decades of mismanagement under the Quota Management System and destructive fishing techniques such as bottom trawling and dredging.

“Our main point is that now we need to make some big, difficult decisions about how to reverse the degradation of our oceans, especially the causes of the worst damage such as the QMS that is failing to sustainably maintain fish populations, and destructive fishing techniques that are destroying underwater habitats.

“However, our support for this announcement is qualified as we submitted for the species with already defined bag limits being excluded from the combined recreational bag limit until a wider conversation about the Fisheries management system could be undertaken.”


Here are the Minister’s final decisions:

Minister Parker has decided to include all finfish species, including those with individual species limits, in the combined daily bag limit for finfish (except specified baitfish species and freshwater eels) as well as 

  1. retaining the existing combined daily bag limit caps (20 finfish per person, per day, for the Auckland/Kermadec, Central and Challenger fishing areas and 30 finfish per person, per day, for the South-East and Southland/Sub-Antarctic fishing areas),
  2. setting a separate daily bag limit of 50 per person, per day, for specified baitfish species (additional to the combined daily bag limit for finfish), and;
  3. including the southern bluefin tuna daily bag limit of one per person, per day, in the amateur regulations.