The Ministry for Primary Industries is calling on recreational fishers to know the rules when they go fishing for blue cod in Marlborough this summer.
District Compliance Manager Ian Bright said Fishery Officers would be out and about making sure recreational fishers follow the rules.
“The season in the Marlborough Sounds Area (MSA) opens on Thursday 20 December and runs till the end of August next year,” Mr Bright says. “It’s really important for the future of blue cod in the Sounds that fishers know the rules and apply them. Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers are keen to help them do that but the rules will be enforced”.
The key rules for the MSA are:
- No fisher may possess more than two blue cod, and the fish must be between 30 and 35 centimetres in length
- A two-hook per line limit
- A requirement that blue cod must remain in a whole or gutted state at all times while on the water
- No fishing at all around Maud Island.
Mr Bright said fishers staying in baches and aboard boats were not exempt from these rules. “They may land or transport by sea only two blue cod each, either whole or gutted and between 30 and 35 centimetres on any day.”
A voluntary code of practice is also in place with recommended hook sizes and styles, as well as fish handling methods, to minimise release mortality. For more information see this link .
“There are good reasons for the rules and Fishery Officers will be working with fishers to make sure these are understood and being followed,” Mr Bright said. “They don’t want to write tickets but will if they have to. Fines of $250 to $500 per offence can be imposed on fishers who ignore the rules. Serious breaches can result in confiscation of gear, boats and vehicles.” Fishers are urged to know the rules before they go fishing.
Mr Bright said the fishery was to be enjoyed, but fishers had to act responsibly. “While adult blue cod are showing signs of recovery in the Sounds, a cautionary management approach is in place to make sure there are plenty of fish for the future. There are still issues with the health of the fishery and the rules are intended to support reproduction as well as an increase in numbers.”
For information on the Marlborough blue cod fishery, see this link .
Mr Bright went on to add a note about scallop fishing: “Scallops must be landed in the shell, and cannot be possessed at sea in an immeasurable state,” he said. “This includes transporting on the water from a permanent or temporary place of residence. There is a misconception that if scallops are landed and shucked they can later be placed back on a vessel and transported by sea to a point of landing. This is incorrect and the only exception is that scallops may be opened at sea for consumption on a boat. Scallops that are eaten at sea form part of the fisher’s daily limit. Any scallops landed must be in the shell.”
Anyone seeing suspicious activity in Marlborough or anywhere else should call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).
For further information about recreational fishing limits visit www.fish.govt.nz
You can also take advantage of the free mobile services. Text ‘app’ to 9889 to download the New Zealand fishing rules smartphone app. Or text the name of the species you are fishing for (e.g. crayfish, paua) to 9889 and you’ll receive the size and limit number by return text. Texts are free.