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At Coastguard we’re all about people being responsible boaties, but we also want you to be responsible fisho’s out there.

We all need to make sure we’re doing the best for our marine environment, and it’s important to protect our fish stocks for future generations to enjoy.

In New Zealand we have seven different fishing areas with area-specific rules and limits, but all areas have some rules in common:

  1. It is actually illegal to buy, sell or swap recreationally caught seafood – this can result in fines up to $250,000.

  2. Daily catch limits apply – only those people physically involved in fishing or the gathering of shellfish can claim a catch within the daily limit, and any shellfish caught and eaten during a fishing trip is also counted.

  3. Some specific areas may have fishing restrictions in place or be closed off to all kinds of fishing. It is illegal to use restricted fishing methods and gear (including mesh, pots, nets, and lines) in an area which has specific restrictions for such equipment.

  4. There are legal size limits when catching fish recreationally – these are set at levels that allow species to breed at least once before being caught and taken home. Measure your catch carefully to help keep local fisheries sustainable. Fines and penalties apply for breaking the rules.

If you catch an undersized fish, remember to release it carefully so that it survives to reach a larger size. Don't continue fishing in an area where most of the fish are small, or try using a larger hook.

For the easiest way to stay on top of the fish size and daily limits, download the NZ Fishing Rules app for Apple and Android devices from Fisheries NZ.

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