Commercial Fishing Regulations

Commercial fishing in the Fiordland Marine Area is governed by the Fisheries (Southland and Sub-Antarctic Areas Commercial Fishing) Regulations 1986 and commercial fishers are strongly advised to obtain a copy of these regulations before fishing in this area.

Commercial fishing in Fiordland is limited to the outer waters of Fiordland. The boundaries between the internal waters and the outer waters are featured on the map and the actual coordinates are featured in the accompanying box.

Schedule Description of internal waters of F​iordland

  1. Those waters of Long Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 46°05.16'S and 166°42.67'E to 46°03.67'S and 166°41.41'E.
  2. Those waters of Chalky Inlet lying to the east of a line drawn from 45°58.22'S and 166°35.74'E to 45°58.99'S and 166°37.69'E.
  3. Those waters of Dusky Sound lying to the east of lines drawn (a) from 45°45.06'S and 166°36.83'E to 45°46.38'S and 166°36.45'E; and (b) from 45°46.38'S and 166°36.45'E to 45°47.72'S and 166°35.77'E.
  4. Those waters of Acheron Passage lying to the east and to the south of a line drawn from 45°36.76'S and 166°42.40'E to 45°36.15'S and 166°43.38'E.
  5. Those waters of Breaksea Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 45°35.85'S and 166°43.74'E to 45°34.91'S and 166°42.73'E.
  6. Those waters of Dagg Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 45°23.81'S and 166°48.44'E to 45°23.44'S and 166°48.52'E.
  7. Those waters of Doubtful Sound lying - (a) to the east of a line drawn from 45°17.15'S and 166°53.01'E to 45°17.56'S and 166°52.68'E; and (b) to the east of a line drawn from 45°16.81'S and 166°54.61'E to 45°16.59'S and 166°55.21'E.
  8. Those waters of Thompson and Bradshaw Sounds lying to the east and to the south of a line drawn from 45°11.33'S and 166°58.32'E to 45°10.60'S and 166°57.90'E.
  9. Those waters of Nancy Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 45°07.98'S and 167°04.43'E to 45°06.77'S and 167°02.38'E.
  10. Those waters of Charles Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 45°04.68'S and 167°06.21'E to 45°04.41'S and 167°06.66'E.
  11. Those waters of Caswell Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 45°01.23'S and 167°10.23'E to 45°00.58'S and 167°08.95'E.
  12. Those waters of George Sound lying to the east and to the south of a line drawn from 44°53.10'S and 167°23.11'E to 44°53.43'S and 167°21.99'E.
  13. Those waters of Bligh Sound lying to the east and to the south of a line drawn from 44°48.05'S and 167°32.29'E to 44°47.88'S and 167°32.43'E.
  14. Those waters of Sutherland Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 44°44.31'S and 167°35.61'E to 44°44.36'S and 167°35.64'E.
  15. Those waters of Milford Sound lying to the east of a line drawn from 44°35.99'S and 167°49.12'E to 44°36.33'E and 167°48.71'E.

Source: Fisheries (Southland and Sub-Antarctic Areas Commercial Fishing) Amendment Regulations 2005.

Rock Lobster Storage and Holding Pots

The only exception to the restriction on commercial fishing in the internal waters is the provision for fishers to hold live rock lobster in cages and to store empty cages and empty rock lobster pots.

A rock lobster cage is defined in the regulations as follows:

(a) means a rock lobster holding pot that is used for holding or storing rock lobster; but
(b) does not include any pot that is capable of catching rock lobster

Marine Reserves

The Fiordland Marine Area contains ten marine reserves. More information, including maps and coordinates, on these marine reserves can be found on the Department of Conservation website or in the Department of Conservation booklet “Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Reserves".

Neither commercial fishing nor recreational fishing is permitted in a marine reserve. The only exception to this is that rock lobster fishers can hold live rock lobster in cages and store empty cages and pots in the following four marine reserves:

Restrictions on Fishing Activity Particular to Milford Sound

Milford Sound and the outer waters inside St Anne Point and Stripe Point are totally prohibited to commercial fishing. The actual coordinates are described in the following schedule.

Total prohibitions
(1)

No commercial fisher shall take any fish from, or have in possession any fish taken from, the following waters:

(a) the waters of Milford Sound and all those waters in the vicinity of Milford Sound lying inside a straight line drawn from St Anne Point (at 44°34.30'S and 167°46.98'E) to Stripe Point (at 44°33.06'S and 167°49.32'E):
(b) the internal waters of Fiordland.
(2)

Despite subclauses (1)(a) and (c), a commercial fisher may in the internal waters of Fiordland :-

(a) hold live rock lobster, taken from outside the internal waters of Fiordland, in cages for up to 2 months; and
(b) store :-
  • cages, with all doors open; and
  • rock lobster pots, with all doors open.
(3)

Subclause (2) is subject to all prohibitions, restrictions, and conditions applying to any marine reserve established in the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area :-

(a) by section 7(1) of the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Management Act 2005; or
(b) under section 4(1) of the Marine Reserves Act 1971.
(4)

Nothing in subclause (2) permits :-

(a) the taking of rock lobster in the internal waters of Fiordland,
(b) the storage of baited rock lobster in the internal waters of Fiordland.

Source: Fisheries (Southland and Sub-Antarctic Areas Commercial Fishing) Amendment Regulations 2005.

Other Fishing Restrictions in place

There also some gear restrictions in place in the Fiordland Marine Area. See the accompanying box below for more information.

Certain Fishing Methods prohibited in defined areas
(1) No commercial fisher shall use for taking fish a box or teichi net, purse seine net, Danish seine, trawl net, lampara net, or set nets of a total length exceeding 1000m, within the following waters:

(b) the Fiords:

 
(i) Bligh Sound: all those waters of Bligh Sound to the east of a line drawn from Tommy Point (at 44°45.21'S and 167°29.61'E) to Chasland Head (at 44°46.38'S and 167°28.27'E):
(ii) George Sound: all those waters of George Sound to the east of a line drawn from a point on the coast (at 44°49.42'S and 167°21.34'E) to a point on the southern entrance to the sound (at 44°50.62'S and 167°19.54'E):
(iii) Caswell Sound: all those waters of Caswell Sound to the east of a line drawn from a point on the coast (at 44°59.43'S and 167°08.15'E) to McKerr Point (at 45°00.33'S and 167°07.65'E):
(iv) Charles Sound: all those waters of Charles Sound to the east of a line drawn from Islet Point (at 45°01.51'S and 167°05.53'E) to Hawes Head (at 45°03.21'S and 167°04.43'E):
(v) Nancy Sound: all those waters of Nancy Sound to the east of a line drawn from Burnett Point (at 45°06.16'S and 167°01.60'E) to Anxiety Point (at 45°06.37'S and 167°00.84'E):
(vi) Thompson Sound: all those waters of Thompson and Bradshaw Sounds to the east of a line drawn from Shanks Head (at 45°08.31'S and 166°58.45'E) to Colonial Head on Secretary Island (at 45°08.67'S and 166°57.65'E):
(vii) Doubtful Sound: all those waters of Doubtful Sound to the east of a line drawn from a point on the coast of Secretary Island (at 45°14.49'S and 166°52.08'E) to Febrero Point (at 45°16.59'S and 166°50.52'E):
(viii) Dagg Sound: all those waters of Dagg Sound to the east of a line drawn from Cast-Off Point (at 45°22.72'S and 166°46.32'E) to Towing Head (at 45°23.93'S and 166°45.41'E):
(ix) Breaksea Sound: all those waters of Breaksea Sound to the east of a line drawn from Oliver Point (at 45°34.49'S and 166°40.31'E) to a point on Resolution Island (at 45°36.17'S and 166°36.35'E):
(x) Dusky Sound: all those waters of Dusky Sound to the east of a line drawn from Five Fingers Point on Resolution Island (at 45°44.67'S and 166°26.70'E) to South Point (at 45°48.79'S and 166°27.40'E):
(xi) Preservation and Chalky Inlets: all those waters of Preservation and Chalky Inlets to the east of a line drawn from Cape Providence (at 46°00.78'S and 166°28.37'E) to Puysegur Point (46°9.45'S and 166°36.34'E):

Source: Fisheries (Southland and Sub-Antarctic Areas Commercial Fishing) Amendment Regulations 2005.

If you would like any additional information about commercially fishing in the Fiordland Marine Area please contact:

Ministry for Primary Industries - Fisheries office
137 Spey Street
Invercargill
Ph (03) 211 0060

This information has been prepared by the Ministry for Primary Industries for your guidance and information only. To clarify or confirm your own legal position you should familiarise yourself with the relevant provisions of the legislation referred to or seek advice from your solicitor.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information featured on this website, the Ministry for Primary Industries does not accept responsibility for any errors contained therein.

The original legislation should always be regarded as the authoritative document and used as the principal source of information.