Fishing rules

Everyone who fishes recreationally in New Zealand has a legal requirement to follow the recreational fishing rules. The rules change regularly – so check the rules for your fishing area every time you head out fishing.

Check the fishing rules for your area

New Zealand has 7 fishing areas. You need to follow the specific fishing rules for the area where you're fishing. You can:

  • download a brochure – links are available on the web pages for each fishing area
  • get the free NZ Fishing Rules app – Apple or android.  (After you've downloaded the app, it works without an Internet connection)
  • send a free text to 9889 with the name of a species – for example, "blue cod" or "pāua". You'll be sent legal bag and size limits for that species by return text.
  • get a brochure from MPI offices.

It is illegal to buy, sell or swap recreationally caught seafood

Marlborough Sounds Area closed for blue cod fishing

The Marlborough Sounds is closed for blue cod fishing until 20 December 2016.

Choose your fishing area to check the rules

Click on the map of your fishing area below to check the fishing rules, closures, and restrictions.


Follow us on Facebook

We have some regional pages to bring you information about the fishing rules and how we manage and protect local fisheries.

Follow the Facebook page for:

Report poaching

Report poaching, suspicious, or illegal activity – call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email

You can help us by providing:

  • the location
  • vehicle/trailer registration number
  • boat name
  • description of the person

When reporting any suspected poaching put your personal safety first. All calls and personal details are treated as confidential.

Last reviewed: | Has this been useful? Give us your feedback
Document cart