The National Rock Lobster Management Group

The National Rock Lobster Management Group was established in 1992 to provide advice on rock lobster fisheries management issues to the government and its ministers.

About the National Rock Lobster Management Group

The National Rock Lobster Management Group (NRLMG) is the longest standing collaborative multi-stakeholder fisheries group in New Zealand.

It provides advice to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries on rock lobster fisheries issues.

Fisheries New Zealand is a member of the NRLMG. It has statutory obligations to advise the minister in accordance with the Fisheries Act.

While the minister maintains the right to seek independent advice from officials, Fisheries New Zealand endeavours to provide advice alongside the NRLMG.

The group's goal

Rock lobster fisheries will be managed and be maintained at or above the assessed and agreed biological reference points, using a comprehensive approach that recognises a range of commercial, customary, non-commercial, recreational, and environmental concerns and values.

The role of the group in rock lobster fisheries management

The NRLMG provides advice on:

  • sustainability measures, including catch settings
  • regulatory changes
  • other management matters.

Sustainability measures for rock lobster, including catch settings

Each year, the NRLMG reviews the best available information from stock assessments and monitoring information to determine if changes are required to catch settings and regulatory controls for rock lobster fish stocks, to provide for their utilisation while ensuring their sustainability.

The primary focus of the sustainability round is to ensure catch settings (catch limits and allowances) are set appropriately for rock lobster stocks for the start of the coming fishing year.

The NRLMG selects rock lobster stocks for review based on best available information on stock status, sustainability risk, and utilisation opportunities. Stocks are scheduled for a full stock assessment every 5 years, and can be reviewed sooner if there is a sustainability issue that needs to be addressed.

The NRLMG provides advice to the minister on catch settings following statutory public consultation. The minister then sets catch settings for the upcoming fishing year.

The Fisheries New Zealand sustainability round process [PDF, 84 KB]

Recent sustainability catch setting reviews for rock lobster

Sustainability review for 1 April 2021

Sustainability review for 1 April 2020

Sustainability review for 1 April 2019

Regulatory changes for rock lobster fisheries

A suite of customary, amateur and commercial regulations are used to manage rock lobster fisheries, including:

  • the authorisation and management of customary activities by Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki
  • the use of customary management areas such as mātaitai, taiāpure, and temporary closures under sections 186A or 186B of the Fisheries Act
  • the provision of minimum legal sizes, recreational daily bag limits, recreational accumulation limits, and telson clipping
  • a prohibition against taking berried females (female carrying eggs) and soft-shelled rock lobsters
  • method restrictions
  • the requirement that all pots be fitted with escape gaps
  • closed seasons in some areas.

Recent regulatory reviews for rock lobster

The NRLMG reviews regulations to ensure ongoing sustainability of rock lobster fisheries.

Introduction of recreational regulations for the CRA 2 rock lobster fishery

Introduction of recreational regulations for the CRA 5 rock lobster fishery

Find out more about fishing rules for rock lobster

Customary fishing

Recreational fishing rules

Commercial fishing requirements

Biology and life cycle of rock lobster

Rock lobster biology [PDF, 674 KB]

Rock lobster life cycle [PDF, 422 KB]

Annual report on the group's activities

The NRLMG produces an annual report which covers all of its operations for the year, including work on sustainability measures and regulations.

The latest NRLMG annual report [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Active rock lobster consultations

No rock lobster consultations are open. We'll update this web page, if that changes.

National Rock Lobster Management Group members

The NRLMG is a national-level, multi-sector group composed of an independent chairperson, representatives of the customary, recreational, and commercial fishing sectors, environmental interests, Ministry for Primary Industries fisheries compliance, and Fisheries New Zealand.

  • Independent chair: Jonathan Dick
  • Kim Drummond: Representing North Island and Chatham Island tangata whenua / Te Ohu Kaimoana
  • Nigel Scott: Representing South Island tangata whenua / Te Waka a Māui me Ōna Toka Fisheries Forum
  • John Holdsworth: Representing the recreational sector / New Zealand Sport Fishing Council
  • Andy Stewart: Representing the recreational sector / New Zealand Underwater Association
  • Katrina Goddard: Representing the environmental sector / Forest & Bird
  • Barry Weeber: Representing the environmental sector / Environmental Conservation Organisations of New Zealand
  • Mark Edwards and Malcolm Lawson: Representing the commercial sector / New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council
  • Niamh Murphy (manager of fisheries compliance): Representing Government / MPI fisheries compliance
  • Sonja Hempel (senior fisheries analyst): Representing Government / Fisheries New Zealand
  • Leyla Knittweis (principal scientist): Representing Government / Fisheries New Zealand
  • Kiri Morgan (Secretariat) Representing Government / Fisheries New Zealand

NRLMG Terms of Reference [PDF, 264 KB]

Meetings of the National Rock Lobster Management Group

The NRLMG holds about 6 meetings a year.

The full minutes from past meetings are available to download. If you would like minutes of meetings held before 2018, email

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2021 minutes of the NRLMG meetings

10 February 2021 [PDF, 238 KB]

2020 minutes of the NRLMG meetings

12 February 2020 [PDF, 234 KB]

16 June 2020 [PDF, 179 KB]

1 July 2020 [PDF, 229 KB]

16 September 2020 [PDF, 275 KB]

4 November 2020 [PDF, 246 KB]

26 November 2020 [PDF, 246 KB]

2019 minutes of the NRLMG meetings

14 February 2019 [PDF, 281 KB]

29 May 2019 [PDF, 293 KB]

18 July 2019 [PDF, 266 KB]

17 October 2019 [PDF, 289 KB]

13 November 2019 [PDF, 342 KB]

28 November 2019 [PDF, 288 KB]

2018 minutes of the NRLMG meetings

13 February 2018 [PDF, 350 KB]

3 May 2018 [PDF, 272 KB]

21 June [PDF, 307 KB]

16 August 2018 [PDF, 288 KB]

11 October 2018 [PDF, 292 KB]

15 November 2018 [PDF, 279 KB]

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the NRLMG, email

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