Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy on Thursday afternoon announced changes to blue cod rules for the top of South Island, including scrapping the transit and slot rules and introducing a minimum legal size of 33cm across the region.
“These new rules are based on science and the views of submitters and advice from the Blue Cod Management Group,” says Nathan.
“The group received strong feedback from the public that the previous rules were confusing and complicated. The scientific information also showed they may not have been supporting a rebuild in blue cod numbers in some parts of the Marlborough Sounds.
“It was clear something had to be done. My decisions reflect the feedback from the community and ensure the rules are simple, fair and easy to comply with. At the same time they balance the benefits all stakeholders get from using this fishery with the need to ensure sustainability.”
The main changes are scrapping both the ‘transit’ and ‘slot’ rules. This means there will be one set of rules across the whole of the Marlborough Sounds and Challenger East, and one minimum legal size of 33cm.
The other main changes include a daily bag limit of two blue cod per day across the combined area (Marlborough Sounds and Challenger East), fishers may accumulate a maximum of two daily bag limits, provided they were caught on different days and the recreational no-filleting rule and hook limit remaining.
All seasonal closure and closed area restrictions apply equally to recreational and commercial fishers. These include seasonal closure in the Marlborough Sounds from September 1 to December 19 and a finfish “no-take zone” around Maud island.
“Consultation on these proposals was held earlier this year and there was good open discussion with the community.
“I want to thank the Blue Cod Management Group for their hard work. This group is made up of recreational and commercial fishing representatives who have worked together to help preserve this important fishery for future generations.
“This is a very important and popular fishery, not just to locals but to people from all around New Zealand who love coming here.”
The new rules will take effect from December 20 when the recreational fishery in the Marlborough Sounds opens.