Skip to content

Review of recreational daily bag limits for finfish

Update – 20 April 2022

Decisions on review of recreational daily bag limits for finfish

Following this consultation, the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries has decided to include all finfish species, including those with individual species limits, in the combined daily bag limit for finfish (except specified baitfish species and freshwater eels). The minister has also decided to:

  • retain the existing combined daily bag limit caps (20 finfish per person, per day, for the Auckland/Kermadec, Central and Challenger fishing areas and 30 finfish per person, per day, for the South-East and Southland/Sub-Antarctic fishing areas),
  • set a separate daily bag limit of 50 per person, per day, for specified baitfish species (additional to the combined daily bag limit for finfish), and
  • include the southern bluefin tuna daily bag limit of one per person, per day, in the amateur regulations. 

Baitfish are any of the species listed in the table below. All other finfish species (except for freshwater eel), including when used as bait, are part of the combined daily bag limit for finfish.

Common names

Scientific names

Anchovy (Kokowhaawhaa)

Engraulis australis

Jack/Horse/Chilean mackerel (Hauture)

Trachurus declivis, Trachurus novaezelandiae, Trachurus murphyi

Koheru/Scad

Decapterus koheru, Decapterus muroadsi

Pilchard (Mohimohi)

Sardinops sagax

Piper/Garfish (Takeke)

Hyporhamphus ihi, Euleptorhamphus viridis

Slender/Stout sprat (Kupae)

Sprattus antipodum, Sprattus muelleri

Yellow-eyed mullet (Aua)

Aldrichetta forsteri

These changes will come into effect on Thursday 5 May 2022.

Full details and reasons for these decisions are in the minister's decision letter and the media release.

Minister’s decision letter on the review of recreational daily bag limits for finfish [PDF, 314 KB]

New rules include all finfish in recreational combined daily bag limit – Government media release

Related information

Updated recreational daily bag limits and size restrictions for finfish [PDF, 348 KB]

The Minister for Oceans and Fisheries has also recently (September 2021 and March 2022) agreed to progress changes to the rules for recreational take of hāpuku/bass for the Auckland (East and West Coasts), Central and Challenger regions. This is expected to involve reducing the specific recreational daily bag limit for hāpuku/bass to 2, decoupling from the combined daily bag limit with kingfish and introduce an accumulation limit (maximum number) of 3 hāpuku/bass per person.  These changes, if approved, will take effect later this year.

More information on the decisions for Auckland East and West Coast (HPB1) and Central East (HPB2) areas

More information on the decisions for Central West (HPB8) and Challenger (HPB7) areas

About this consultation

Fisheries New Zealand sought feedback on proposals to amend recreational daily bag limits for finfish set under the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 2013.

The closing date for submissions was 18 November 2021.

What was proposed?

Fisheries New Zealand consulted on proposals to amend the Amateur Regulations so that a combined daily bag limit applied to all finfish species unless specifically excluded.

There were 3 options proposed:

  • Option 1: Status quo, retain the current daily bag limit settings.
  • Option 2: Include all finfish species, not currently subject to a daily bag limit, in the combined daily bag limit.
  • Option 3: Include all finfish species, including those with additional individual species limits, in the combined daily bag limit.

Additionally, tangata whenua, stakeholder, and public views were sought on 2 secondary proposals regarding whether to:

  • retain the existing combined daily bag limit caps across the 5 recreational fishing areas or standardise the limit across the country, and
  • exclude a subset of small fish species generally taken as bait and set a new combined daily bag limit of 50 for these baitfish species.

These changes were unlikely to impact most recreational fishers given that, on average, only 2.5% of fishing trips result in fishers taking 18 or more finfish.

The review of recreational daily bag limits was also an opportunity to align the recreational daily bag limit for southern bluefin tuna, currently set by Gazette Notice, with other finfish species and bring it under regulation.

Consultation document

Review of recreational daily bag limits for finfish – Discussion document [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Related information

Recreational daily bag limits and size restrictions for finfish [PDF, 363 KB]

Recreational fishing rules

National panel survey of marine recreational fishers

Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 2013 – NZ Legislation

Submissions are public information

Note that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding it.  That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

MPI may post all or parts of any written submission on its website. We will consider that you have consented to its publication, unless clearly stated otherwise in your submission.