Auckland and Kermadec area fishing rules

Recreational fishing rules for the Auckland area and Kermadec Islands, including closed areas, special restrictions, and other important notices.

About the Auckland and Kermadec fishing area

Map of Auckland fishing area

This area includes:

  • Northland
  • Waikato
  • Auckland
  • the Bay of Plenty
  • the Kermadec Islands.

This page has the rules for:

  • size limits
  • catch/bag limits (how many fish or shellfish you can take each day)
  • closed areas (where you cannot fish)
  • special restrictions
  • all types of recreational fishing, including potting, netting, and all other fishing methods.

Remember, if you're a recreational fisher, selling any fish or shellfish you catch is illegal.


UPDATES

New netting restrictions

On 1 October 2020, new fishing rules came into force to help protect Hector's and Māui dolphins.

  • Set nets are banned in several areas of the country.
  • The trawl prohibition within the central Māui dolphin habitat zone is extended.
  • Drift netting is banned everywhere in New Zealand.

New blue cod rules

On 1 July 2020, the minimum catch size of blue cod was standardised to 33cm across most areas. A "traffic light system" is used to indicate the daily bag limit for different areas.

How to check the rules

You can find a summary of the size and catch limits, closed areas, and special restrictions further down this page.

Size limits, catch/bag limits, closed areas, and special restrictions

You can also use the free NZ Fishing Rules app, check rules in our brochures, or text us. You'll also see signs about rules at many fishing spots.

Download the free NZ Fishing Rules app

Mac App Store for Apple devices

Google Play for android devices

Or free text "app" to 9889 to be sent the links to your phone. After you install it, the app will work without an internet connection.

Get a brochure

Download the rules brochure [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Visit a Fisheries New Zealand office

Use our free text service

Send a free text to 9889 with the name of a species.

For example, text "blue cod" or "pāua" to 9889. You'll receive a text with legal bag and size limits for that species.

Size limits, catch limits, closed areas, and special restrictions

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Finfish – size limits and catch/bag limits

Size limits and catch limits for finfish.

Download the rules for popular finfish brochure [PDF, 1.3 MB]

In the Auckland/Kermadec area, for fish in Table 1, there is a combined daily limit of 20 fish per fisher. This means that you can have a combination of up to 20 of any of these fish in total. For example, you could have 19 kahawai and 1 red cod, or 10 kahawai and 10 red cod. As long as you have no more than 20 in total.

There is also a daily limit of 5 bluenose. For example, you could have 5 bluenose and 15 kahawai.

For fish in Table 2, you can have these in addition to the maximum of 20 fish from Table 1. For example, you could take 10 kahawai, 10 red cod, and 6 eels.

There is no limit for fish species not listed in Table 1 or 2.

Remember, there may be other specific rules in some areas. For example, a harbour might have different size limits for certain species. Check the "Closed areas and special restrictions" section on this page for more information.

Table 1 - combined bag

Finfish Species

Min fish length (cm)

Min set net mesh size
(mm)

Min drag net mesh size (mm)

Blue Cod

Blue cod rules changing from 1 July 2020

30

100

100

Blue Moki

40

114

115

Bluenose (maximum 5)

160

100

Butterfish

35

108

108

Elephant fish

150

150

Flatfish (except Sand flounder)

25

114

100

John Dory

100

100

Kahawai

90

85

Parore

114

100

Porae

100

100

Red Cod

25

100

100

Red Gurnard

25

100

100

Red Moki

40

115

115

Red Snapper

100

100

Rig

125

150

Sand Flounder

23

114

100

School Shark

125

100

Tarakihi

25

100

100

Trevally

25

125

100

 

Table 2 - additional to combined bag

Finfish species

Min fish length (cm)

Max daily limit (per fisher)

Min set net mesh size (mm)

Min dragnet mesh size (mm)

Eels

6

12

12

Garfish (Piper)

25

25

Groper/Hapuku/ Bass

 

Daily bag limit of 5 with no more than 3
Kingfish

 

160

 

100

Kingfish

75

3

100

 

Grey Mullet

30

90

85

Pilchard

-

-

25

25

Snapper*

27

10

125

100

Snapper (SNA1)*

30

7

125

100

Yellow Eyed Mullet

25

25

All others

100

100

* Note the difference between Snapper and Snapper 1 (SNA1). SNA1 refers to the area from North Cape to Cape Runaway, out to a distance of 200 nautical miles offshore.

Shellfish – size limits and catch/bag limits

A summary of the shellfish daily bag and size limits.

Shellfish are considered "taken" (collected or harvested) when they can't freely return to the water. For example, when you put them in a bag. When you're gathering or collecting, you can never possess more than your daily limit.

Remember, there may be other specific rules in some areas. For example, a harbour might have different size limits for certain species. Check the 'Closed areas and restrictions' section on this page for more information.

Shellfish Species

Daily limit per fisher

Auckland Coromandel area daily limit per fisher

Min size (mm)

Cockle

150

50

Kina (sea eggs)

50

50

Green-lipped mussels

50

25

Oysters
– Dredge*+
– Rock and Pacific†


50
250


50
100


58
-

Pāua
– Ordinary*
– Yellow Foot*


10
10


10
10


125
80

Pipi

150

50

Scallops+*
(Season: 1 Sep to 31 Mar)

20

20

100

Toheroa#

Prohibited

Prohibited

Tuatua

150

50

All others (combined) •

50

50

* Dredge oyster, pāua, and scallops must be landed in the shell. They can't be shucked or shelled seaward of the mean high water mark. However, you can shuck dredge oysters and scallops that you are going to eat while you're still at sea. These still count towards your daily catch/bag limit.

† Rock and Pacific oysters must not be opened while they're still attached to the object they're growing on (like if they're still stuck to a rock).

+ Limited provision allows a diver on a vessel to gather extra bag limits of oysters and scallops for up to 2 other people acting in a dive safety capacity from that vessel. The safety people must be onboard the vessel, and acting in that capacity, when the diving is done. If only 1 safety person is onboard the vessel, only 1 extra bag limit may be taken. A maximum of 2 extra bag limits may be taken per vessel, regardless of the number of people diving.

# Toheroa must not be taken, processed, or disturbed. This is always the case unless we declare an open season.

View the difference between toheroa and tuatua [PDF, 297 KB]

• This is a combined, mixed-species bag limit. It applies to all shellfish species [that are not listed in the table. This includes all crabs, limpets, starfish, periwinkles, whelks, barnacles, freshwater crayfish (koura), cats eyes (snails), and sea cucumbers.

Rock lobster/Crayfish rules

A summary of the rock lobster/crayfish daily size limits and catch/bag limits.

Download the rock lobster rules brochure [PDF, 1.1 MB]

This section has the rules for both:

  • spiny rock lobster
  • packhorse lobster.

Remember, there may be other specific rules in some areas. Check the 'Closed areas and special restrictions' section on this page for more information.

Daily catch limits

Maximum of 6 rock lobster (both species combined) per day.

Te Arai Point (Auckland) to Cape Runaway

Between these 2 locations, the catch/bag limit is different. You can take a total of 3 spiny rock lobster and 3 packhorse rock lobster. If you do not take any spiny rock lobster, then you can take a total of 6 packhorse lobster.

Spiny rock lobster minimum size

Measure the tail width in a straight line, between the tips of the two large (primary) spines on the second segment of the tail.

  • The minimum measurement for males is 54mm.
  • The minimum measurement for females is 60mm.
  • If you're not sure what sex the lobster is, use the 60mm measurement.

Packhorse lobster minimum size

Measure the tail length along the underside in a straight line from the rear of the calcified bar on the first segment to the tip of the middle fan of the tail. Must have a tail length of at least 216mm (male and female).

Other rules and protections

There are rules for gathering rock lobster/crayfish that cover:

  • protected types
  • banned gathering methods
  • pot construction and use.
Protected types

You can't take:

  • female rock lobster “in berry” carrying external eggs
  • soft shell stage rock lobster (rock lobster that has shed its skin)
  • unmeasurable rock lobster (like if its tail is damaged)
  • undersized rock lobster.
Banned gathering methods
  • You can't possess rock lobster in an unmeasurable state seaward of the high watermark.
  • No spring-loaded loops or lassos – hand operated only.
  • No spears or puncturing devices – it is an offence to possess a speared rock lobster.
  • Do not remove external eggs from any rock lobster.
  • No baited nets.
  • Maximum of 3 rock lobster pots per fisher.
  • Maximum of 6 rock lobster pots from a vessel for 2 or more fishers.

Visit this page for information on pot construction and use:

Rock lobster

Telson (tail fan) clipping for rock lobsters between Te Arai Point and Cape Runaway

From Te Arai Point (Auckland) to Cape Runaway, telson clipping is required for all spiny rock lobsters that you take. This involves cutting off the central part of the tail fan (the telson). This must be done to all legal spiny rock lobsters as soon as you take them.

The last third of the telson (central part of the tail fan) must be cut off so that it is noticeably shorter than the other sections of the tail fan.

Labelled diagram of a telson-clipped lobster [PDF, 551 KB]

Do not telson clip any packhorse rock lobsters.

For more details, check the:

Video: Telson clipping your crayfish (2.25)

Closed areas and special restrictions

The lists below show areas where:

  • fishing is not allowed (closed areas)
  • size limits and catch limits might be different (special restrictions).

There's more information in the rules brochure and NZ Fishing Rules app.

Closed areas

You can't fish in these areas.

  • Cape Rodney-Otakari Point (Goat Island) Marine Reserve
  • Long Bay – Okura Marine Reserve
  • Motu Manawa - Pollen Island Marine Reserve
  • Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve
  • Tawharanui Marine Reserve
  • Te Matuku Marine Reserve
  • Te Parpar o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) Marine Reserve
  • Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve
  • Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve
  • Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve

Marine reserves are managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

A to Z list of marine reserves – DOC

Set netting restrictions

These areas are closed to set netting:

  • Three Kings Islands
  • Cape Reinga to Scott Point
  • Reef Point to Whangape Harbour
  • Bay of Islands (Cape Wiwiki, Whale Rock, The Twins – Cape Brett)
  • northern side of the Hen and Chickens
  • Mokohinau Islands
  • Simpson Rock
  • Little Barrier (Needles Point, eastern side of Arid Island, Cape Barrier)
  • Channel Island
  • Cape Colville
  • most of the Mercury Islands
  • Pauanui
  • Tamaki River
  • Panmure Basin
  • Muriwai Beach
  • Karekare Beach
  • Pariokariwa Point to Maunganui Bluff
  • Manukau Heads
  • Cape Runaway.
r200216 Rec SN Closure Comms Maps Auckland and Kermadec Update 23092020
r200216 Rec SN Closure Comms Maps Auckland and Kermadec Update 23092020

Manukau Harbour entrance

Set netting is prohibited [not allowed/restricted/banned] at the entrance of the Manukau Harbour. The ban is from Taumatarea Point (in the north) to Matakawau Point (in the south).

r200235 Comms Map Manukau Harbour
r200235 Comms Map Manukau Harbour

Find out about the new restrictions

Restricted areas

In the following areas, there are specific rules or restrictions. These might be for size limits, catch/bag limits, or fishing methods (like no set netting). Check the location and the rule.

  • Auckland and Coromandel area – reduced shellfish daily bag
  • Bay of Islands (Eastern) – no set netting or set lines from 1 October to 30 April
  • Bay of Islands (Cape Wiwiki, Whale Rock, The Twins to Cape Brett) north of the Hen and Chickens – no set netting
  • Cape Colville – no set netting
  • Cape Reinga to Scott Point – no set netting
  • Cape Runaway – no set netting
  • Channel Island – no set netting
  • Cheltenham Beach – no shellfish gathering
  • Cockle Bay – no taking of shellfish
  • Eastern Beach – no shellfish gathering
  • Great Barrier (Needles Point, eastern side of Arid Island, Cape Barrier) – no set netting
  • Kaipara Harbour – no taking scallops
  • Kaipara Harbour (entrance) – no set netting
  • Karekare Beach – no shellfish gathering and no set netting
  • Little Barrier – no set netting
  • Mair Bank – no taking of shellfish
  • Manukau Heads – no set netting
  • Manukau Harbour (entrance) – no set netting
  • Marsden Bank – no taking of shellfish
  • Maunganui Bay (Deep Water Cove) – no taking of any species, except kina
  • Mercury Islands (most of) – no set netting
  • Mimiwhangata – no set netting or set lines
  • Mokohinau Islands – no set netting
  • Muriwai Beach – no set netting
  • Ngunguru Estuary – no pipi and/or cockle gathering
  • Okatoa Rock, near Motu River mouth – no set netting or set lines 1 December to 31 March
  • Panmure Basin – no set netting
  • Pariokariwa Point to Maunganui Bluff – no set netting
  • Pauanui – no set netting
  • Poor Knights Islands – no set netting or set lines
  • Raglan Harbour (entrance) – no set netting
  • Reef Point to Whangape Harbour – no set netting
  • Simpson Rock – no set netting
  • Tamaki River – no set netting
  • Te Mata and Waipatukahu – no taking of pipi, cockles, mussels, or oysters
  • Te Puna Mātaitai – no taking of green lipped, blue, or black mussels
  • Three Kings Islands – no set netting
  • Tuhua (Mayor Island) – no set netting or set lines
  • Umupuia Beach – no taking of cockles
  • Waikato Harbour (entrance) – no set netting
  • Whangateau Harbour – no taking of cockles or pipis

Taiapure

Taiapure are areas of special significance to an iwi or hapu where other rules or restrictions are in place. Find out more on the New Zealand Legislation website.

Fisheries (Maketu Taiapure) Order 1996

Mātaitai reserves

These are areas where tangata whenua manage non-commercial fishing through bylaws. Information is in the NZ Gazette.

Mt Maunganui and part of Tauranga Harbour – Bay of Plenty:

Te Puna Mātaitai – Bay of Plenty:

Blue cod restrictions

Restrictions relating to blue cod are shown in the table below:

Blue cod...

Rule

Pot construction

Rigid square mesh, where:

  • the squares in the mesh must be at least 54mm by 54mm
  • the mesh should be strong, and not easily bent or reshaped.

Accumulation limit

You can have a total of 2 daily catch/bag limits of blue cod if:

  • your fishing trip is more than 1 day, and
  • you can prove that you didn't take more blue cod than your daily catch limit on both days.

Measurable state

All blue cod must be landed whole or gutted.

Eating blue cod on the boat

  • You can eat blue cod on the fishing boat it was caught on, but you have to eat it as soon as you fillet it.
  • Any blue cod that you eat still counts towards your daily catch/bag limit.

Shellfish food safety warnings

We issue warnings not to collect shellfish when testing shows that they contain unsafe levels of toxins.

Report poaching

You can report poaching, suspicious, or illegal activity online.

Report illegal fishing (such as poaching)

You can also:

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.

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

These are offences against the Fisheries Act 1996, which can result in fines up to $250,000.

Follow us on Facebook

Our regional Facebook pages bring you information about the fishing rules and how we manage and protect local fisheries:

Find out more

Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 2013 – NZ Legislation

Who to contact

If you have questions about Auckland and Kermadec area fishing rules, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: