Recreational Fishing Regulations

Fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities to take place in Fiordland. Every year growing number of fishers is visiting Fiordland to experience and enjoy the unique fishing and diving opportunities available. However, the unique environment of Fiordland means that unchecked, fishing pressure can lead to localised depletion. This is because the fishery habitat within the fiords is unproductive and some species suffer from poor recruitment creating a situation where fishing harvest must be carefully managed.

The new management regime in place in Fiordland encourages recreational fishers to take greater responsibility to help conserve both these valuable fisheries and the unique marine environment.

Recreational fishers are asked to adopt the following sensible fishing practices:

  • Fish for a feed; take only what you need for yourself and your family
  • Fish in the outer fiords whenever you can; they are more productive
  • Avoid anchoring when you're fishing
  • Don't set gear you can't retrieve
  • Use the right method to catch the right fish
  • Use size 6/0 Kahle or larger size fish hooks when fishing for blue cod
  • Return undersize fish quickly and carefully to the sea
  • Take no more baitfish than you will use, and make sure they are legal size
  • Treat what you catch humanely
  • Always grasp a rock lobster by its body, not its legs or feelers
  • Leave egg-carrying rock lobster alone when diving and return them quickly to the sea when lobster-potting
  • Leave undersized paua alone; they can bleed to death if their foot is damaged
  • Know the regulations and report all illegal activities to the Ministry for Primary Industries (see contact details below)

The recreational fishing regulations that relate to Fiordland can be found at the Ministry for Primary Industries web site or are also set out in the User's Guide on the Fiordland Marine Area.

For more information about the restrictions on recreational fishing activity in Fiordland (including brochure requests) please contact:

Ministry for Primary Industries, Invercargill
137 Spey Street,
Ph (03) 211-0060
Call free 0800 4 RULES (0800 478 537) for information on fishing rules, or
Call free 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) to report illegal fishing

Photograph courtesy of Paul Peychers.