Kaikōura area fishing rules

Recreational fishing rules for the Kaikōura area, including closures, restrictions, and other important notices.

Earthquake-related closure

Due to the earthquake of 14 November 2016, fisheries in the Kaikōura and Marfells Beach regions are closed:

  • Gathering of shellfish and seaweed is prohibited between Marfells Beach and the Conway River out to a distance of 4 nautical miles from shore.
  • This closure does not apply to rock lobster, scampi or octopus. These may be gathered in this area.

Find out more

Details of closures, including maps of the closed areas, are in the box called 'Closures and restrictions'

What you need to know


This area is within the South-East area but has different rules. It covers the waters from Clarence Point to the mouth of the Conway River out to a distance of 12 nautical miles.

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.


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

New restrictions from 1 October 2020

On 1 October 2020, new measures restricting recreational set-net fishing will take effect along the west coast of the North Island, and the north, south, and east coasts of the South Island. In addition, drift netting will be prohibited in all New Zealand waters.

Find out about the new restrictions

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.

Follow us on Facebook

We have some regional pages to bring you information about the fishing rules and how we manage and protect local fisheries.

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