The FREE, ONE PIECE of gear every fisher needs

By NZ FisheriesNZ Fishing World
The FREE, ONE PIECE of gear every fisher needs

Remember that time you were wondering what the size limit, or bag limit was on kingfish, john dory, blue cod? Enjoy your fishing and always know you are within the rules. If you haven’t got the NZ Fishing Rules app yet, what are you waiting for? It’s a fisher’s best friend. It’s free and it could save you from a $250 or $500 instant fine.

So, grab your phone, hit your app store and download it now....OR JUST CLICK ON THE PICTURES!

Keeping Fishing Fun and Sustainable

Fishing is one of New Zealand’s most popular recreational activities. Every year around 600,000 recreational fishers hit the water. That’s why it’s so important you know the limits for our area and stick to them. We all love bringing home a good feed of fresh fish, arms still aching from reeling them in. But to ensure we get more of those days, and less bobbing about with no bites, we have to keep an eye on bag limits and sizes. It’s all about keeping fishing fun and fair and helping to protect our natural resource – for ourselves, other fishers, and generations to come. Young Kiwis should be able to enjoy the thrill of catching a big one, the same as we did when we were kids.

Be in the Know

A lot of fishers think they know the rules already, but New Zealand’s marine environment is constantly changing, and the rules need to change with it. Remember the Kaikoura quake? That raised large areas of seabed and changed the coast forever. It’s an extreme example, but a reminder that the ocean is a dynamic place. To protect it, our fishing rules need to adapt quickly and be specific to different areas.

Fisheries New Zealand focuses its efforts on ensuring there are enough of our most important fish stocks in the water. If there’s evidence that the numbers are too low, restrictions are put on the catch to help rebuild stocks.

Letting fishers know what’s going on can be a challenge as we change the way we communicate and consume information. Signs take time to change and not everyone reads the newspaper or listens to the radio so, the NZ Fishing Rules App was developed. Rather than being a ‘rulebook’ it’s more of a live communication tool with up-to-date fishing information for each area. We advise that you check it each time before you fish.

The App is available free for Apple and Android devices. Just visit your app store to download it, or get it HERE: 

If you have an older phone that doesn’t run apps, you can send a free text to 9889 with the name of a species – for example, "blue cod" or "pāua" and you'll be sent legal bag and size limits for that species by return text. Easy!

Once you’ve got it on your phone it works without an internet connection, so even if you’re in an area that’s out of cell-phone range you can still check it. Or perhaps you just want to enjoy some peace and quiet and switch your phone to airplane mode? Don’t worry, it still works.

A Feed or a Fine

In general, Kiwis respect the natural environment and know how important it is to stick to the rules. But there’s always a few bad apples who spoil the barrel – giving the rest of us a bad name and threatening our fish stocks. It’s frustrating but that’s why there are fines in place. If people don’t follow the rules and take more than their fair share, or take undersized fish, they risk an instant $250 or $500 fine for each offence. For more serious cases, prosecution through the courts can follow with the risk of property confiscation and even potential prison time.

Nobody wants a fun fishing trip to end that way, especially just through not knowing the rules. We can’t afford to have ignorance, or a few selfish fishers compromise the sustainability of New Zealand’s shared fishery resource.

Don't be like Rob!

Fisheries New Zealand has launched a new advertising campaign to run over summer across multiple channels. Keep an eye out for Rob, our new anti-hero featuring in the campaign. We’re pretty sure he wishes he downloaded the App to keep up to date with the rules.

The NZ Fishing Rules App – check it every time before you fish.

Web, Facebook and Print Resources

If for some reason you can’t get the App, there’s still no excuse for not knowing the rules. Fisheries New Zealand has a website with everything you need to know for your area –

You can also join one of four regional MPI Fisheries Facebook pages. Or if you prefer, you can still get printed brochures from any of our local offices (there’s around 20 of them in New Zealand so there should be one near you).

Reporting Poachers

Nobody wants to dob somebody in, but there are poachers who are purposeful and organised, and they’re ruining it for the rest of us. Fishery Officers can’t be everywhere at once, so help keep an eye out. To report suspicious, or illegal activity – call 0800 4 POACHER or email

Real Fishers Get It

Whether you surf-cast, gamefish, spearfish, or dive. Whether you have a boat, fish off the rocks, or just chuck a line in from a jetty. If you’re serious about fishing, love the sport, or just enjoy a day on the water, you need the NZ Fishing Rules App. It’s free and it could save you a fine.  

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