Sunday, April 14, 2024

Daily catch limits to include finfish

Rules for daily limits on recreationally caught finfish will change to include species that previously had no limit, Oceans and Fisheries Minister, David Parker announced today.

There are over 1,000 finfish species found in New Zealand waters, and of those only 43 species have been subject to a daily recreational fishing limit leaving the rest open to overfishing.

“I instructed my officials to review the daily bag limits for recreationally caught finfish following reports of people taking hundreds of pink maomao on one day last year,” Minister Parker said.

“Some of these species outside of bag limits weren’t previously targeted by recreational fishers. But there has been a change in what people now catch and eat and the rules need to be updated to reflect this.”

The changes mean that all finfish species will now be included in the combined daily bag limit for finfish. Finfish species with individual bag limits will also be included in the daily total. 

“This puts an end to excessive take which could affect the sustainability of a species and also makes the rules more consistent across the country and easier to follow,” the Minister said.

Public consultation on the changes ran from 6 October to 18 November 2021, with Fisheries New Zealand receiving 1,467 submissions from across a wide range of interests.

Specified baitfish and freshwater eels are not included, and have their own separate limits additional to the combined daily bag limit.

An example of a species with an individual daily limit is kingfish, which has a daily limit of three per angler. These individual limits will be retained but are now included within the combined daily bag limit.

For example, a fisher in the Auckland/Kermadec, Central or Challenger areas can take three kingfish and up to 17 other finfish to make up their daily limit of 20.

Southern bluefin tuna, which has a daily limit of one per person per day, will now be included in the amateur regulations.

Previously, anyone taking excess southern bluefin tuna was issued with a warning or faced prosecution, but now Fisheries Officers will be able to issue infringement notices.

Changes to the recreational daily bag limits take effect on 5 May 2022. Updates and information about these changes, including the specified baitfish species, can be found on MPI’s website at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/recfishing-consultation.

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