Fisheries New Zealand invites people to have their say on a number of proposed changes to the blue cod fishing regulations. These changes were identified as a priority through the development of the National Blue Cod Strategy, which was endorsed by the Minister of Fisheries, Hon Stuart Nash, in December last year.
Manager of inshore fisheries Steve Halley says it’s important that anyone with an interest in the fishery has a chance to have their say on the proposed changes.
“The strategy has been built on concerns about the depletion of local blue cod fisheries raised with us via public meetings and online surveys during 2018. Now we want people’s feedback on the first of the proposed rule changes driven by the strategy,” Mr Halley says.
“The changes have been developed in partnership with iwi, and a technical advisory group to ensure that the blue cod fishery is sustainable for future generations.
“Recommended changes that will apply only to recreational fishers include lowering daily bag limits in the South Island, introducing a 2-day accumulation limit, requiring blue cod to be landed in a measurable state, and standardising the Minimum Legal Size of landed blue cod to 33cm nationwide.
“We are also seeking feedback on introducing a minimum cod pot mesh size of 54mm for both recreational and commercial fishers.
“A ‘traffic light’ system that assigns different recreational daily bag limits to areas in the South Island, according to the health of blue cod populations, has also been proposed. This approach has been informed by science surveys and feedback that we received during the early engagement processes held to develop the National Blue Cod Strategy.
“Blue cod is a unique, iconic New Zealand species that is important to tangata whenua, commercial fishers, recreational fishers, and environmental groups. We look forward to receiving feedback on these proposed changes and continuing to work together to improve this important shared fishery.
”Consultation closes at 5pm on 26 March 2019 and a final decision on any regulatory changes will be publicised through a number of media channels later this year.
“As always, we encourage people to fish sustainably whether rules are changed or not. Consider fishing for a feed, not to fill the freezer,” says Mr Halley.