Auckland and Kermadec area fishing rules

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

What you need to know

Map of Auckland fishing area

 

This area includes Northland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, and the Kermadec Islands.

All recreational fishing – including potting, netting and all other fishing methods – is covered by rules.

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


 

UPDATES

New netting restrictions

From 1 October 2020, new fishing measures are in place to support the threat management plan for Hector's and Māui dolphins. The use of recreational and commercial set nets is prohibited in a number of areas across the country, and the trawl prohibition within the central Māui dolphin habitat zone has been extended. Drift netting is prohibited in all New Zealand waters.

Make sure you are up to date. To learn more about the changes see the "closures and restrictions" section below, or download the rules brochure.

New blue cod rules

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

Make sure you are up to date. To learn more about the changes see the "closures and restrictions" section below, or download the rules brochure.

Ways to check the rules

This page has a summary of:

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

Get a brochure

Other languages

Download the free NZ Fishing Rules app

Or free text "app" to 9889 to be sent the links to your phone. Once installed, the app will work without an internet connection.

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 be sent legal bag and size limits for that species by return text.


 Limits, closures, and restrictions

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Finfish bag and size limits

A summary of the finfish daily bag and size limits.

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

In the Auckland/Kermadec area there is a combined maximum daily bag limit of 20 of any combination of the species listed in Table 1 (with no more than 5 Bluenose). Individual species limit must not be exceeded.

Individual limits, over and above the combined daily bag, apply to the species listed in Table 2.

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

Remember there may be bag and size limit restrictions for finfish within some areas. Check the closures and restrictions section 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

100

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 bag and size limits
A summary of the shellfish daily bag and size limits.

Shellfish are taken when they cannot freely return to the water – for example, when they are placed into a catch bag or similar. At no time while gathering may you be in possession of more than your daily limit.

Remember there may be bag and size limit restrictions for shellfish within some areas. Check the closures and restrictions section 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
-

Paua
– 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, paua and scallop must be landed in the shell and cannot be shucked or shelled seaward of the mean high water mark. This does not include dredge oysters and scallops shucked onboard for immediate consumption while at sea within daily bag limits.

†Rock and Pacific oysters must not be opened while they adhere to the object on which they grow.

+ Limited provision allows only 1 diver from a vessel to gather an extra bag limit of oysters and scallops for up to 2 other people acting in a dive safety capacity from that vessel.

# Toheroa must not be taken, processed, or disturbed unless an open season is declared by the Director-General of MPI – View the difference between toheroa and tuatua [PDF, 297 KB]

• This is a combined, mixed-species bag limit. it applies to all shellfish species not specifically named above and includes all crabs, limpets, starfish, perwinkles, whelks, barnacles, freshwater crayfish (koura), cats eyes (snails) and sea cucumbers.

Rock lobster/Crayfish

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

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

Remember there may be bag and size limit restrictions for rock lobster within some areas. Check the closures and restrictions section for more information.

Daily bag limits

Maximum of 6 rock lobster (both species combined) on any one day.

Except Te Arai Point, Auckland to Cape Runaway where a total of 3 spiny rock lobsters can be taken, and the remainder (up to 6 in total) can be packhorse rock lobster. If no spiny rock lobsters are taken at the same time, 6 packhorse lobsters can be taken.

Rules changing in CRA2 area from 1 July 2020

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. If you are unsure of the sex, 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).

Additional rules and protections

There are rules and protections for gathering rock lobster/crayfish that cover: protected types, gathering methods, pot construction and use.

From Te Arai Point, Auckland to Cape Runaway telson clipping is required for all recreationally harvested spiny rock lobsters. 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. This must be done to all legal spiny rock lobsters as soon as they are taken.

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

Do not telson clip any packhorse rock lobsters.

For more details, check the:

Closures and restrictions

A summary of areas where catch limits and sizes may be different. More information is in the rules brochure.

Blue cod restrictions

Minimum pot mesh size: 54 mm. Blue cod pots must use rigid square mesh with a minimum inside dimension of 54mm.

Accumulation limit: When your fishing trip is more than one day, if you can prove you have not taken more than the daily bag limit on any given day you can possess 2 daily bag limits of blue cod.

Measurable state: All blue cod must be landed whole or gutted. Fishers may possess blue cod in another state if it is immediately eaten on board the fishing vessel from which it was taken. Any fish eaten, form part of the daily limit.

Set netting restrictions

The following areas are closed to set netting:

  • Three Kings Islands
  • Cape Reinga – 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
Map showing the areas affected by set net restrictions.

Closed areas

No fishing is allowed, this includes Marine Reserves.

  • 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).

Restricted areas

Particular fishing methods are banned or catch/bag limits for particular species are different.

  • 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
  • Mayor Island – no set netting or set lines
  • 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
  • Umupuia Beach – no taking of cockles
  • Waikato Harbour (entrance) – no set netting
  • Whangateau Harbour – no taking of cockles or pipis

Manukau Harbour entrance

Set netting is prohibited at the entrance of the Manukau harbour, from Taumatarea Point in the north to Matakawau Point in the south.

r200235 Comms Map Manukau Harbour
Map showing the areas affected by set net restrictions.

Find out about the new restrictions

Taiapure

An area of special significance to an iwi or hapu, where additional rules and restrictions are in place. Find out more on the NZ Legislation website:

Mātaitai reserves

Areas where tangata whenua manage non-commercial fishing through bylaws:

Mt Maunganui and part of Tauranga Harbour – Bay of Plenty

Te Puna Mātaitai – Bay of Plenty

Food safety warnings

Warnings are issued when shellfish are unsafe to eat because of contamination with biotoxin.

Report poaching

Report poaching, suspicious, or illegal activity – call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email poacher@mpi.govt.nz

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 which can result in fines up to $250,000.

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