Disappointing opening to blue cod season
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding recreational fishers at the top of the South Island of the new rules for blue cod after a disappointing start to the season.
MPI District Compliance Manager Nelson/Marlborough Ian Bright said patrols in the Sounds on Sunday (20 December) found one in 4 people were breaking the new rules.
“We did 31 catch inspections and found 8 offences, mainly for undersize blue cod.
“Fishery officers patrolling in Golden Bay found quite a few fishers who weren’t aware of the rule change.”
The new rules are for the Challenger East area, which covers from the Clarence Rivermouth on the Kaikoura Coast to Farewell Spit, including the Marlborough Sounds.
Mr Bright said the main thing fishers, from Clarence to Farewell Spit, need to remember are they are allowed no more than 2 blue cod person, per day at a minimum size of 33cm.
“Any blue cod under 33cm must be released back into to the sea. This is a very fragile fishery and the rules in place to promote it re-building.”
Some people inspected in the Port Underwood area were using undersized blue cod as bait for craypots, which is illegal.
Mr Bright said it is a fisher’s obligation to know the rules for the area they are fishing.
“It pays to check them before you start catching and visiting fishers need to be particularly careful as the rules for species vary around the country.”
MPI encourages people to report any suspicious fishing activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.
For more information on the new rules
From 20 December 2015, new rules apply for catching blue cod in the Challenger East area, Marlborough Sounds, and the Fiordland area.