Fishing authorities are warning anglers to learn the fishing rules before catching blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds when the season opens today.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has opened Marlborough Sounds blue cod to recreational fishermen from December 20 until the end of August next year. Blue cod fishing in the area has been banned since early September.
District compliance manager Ian Bright said yesterday that fishery officers would be out making sure recreational anglers followed the rules this summer.
"They don't want to write tickets but will if they have to," he said. "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."
Key rules were that no angler may possess more than two blue cod, the fish must be between 30 and 35 centimetres in length; a two-hook per line limit; blue cod must remain in a whole or gutted state at all times while on the water; no fishing at all around Maud Island, he said.
Anglers staying in baches and aboard boats were not exempt. "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."
People catching scallops needed to land them in the shell and could not possess them at sea in an immeasurable state.
A voluntary code of practice was also in place with recommended hook sizes and styles, as well as fish handling methods, to minimise release mortality.
The fishery was to be enjoyed but fishers had to act responsibly, he said.
''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.''
People catching scallops needed to land them in the shell and could not possess them at sea in an immeasurable statentsG, he saidnte.
This included transporting them on the water from a permanent or temporary place of residence.
He said there was an incorrect belief that if scallops were landed and shucked, they could later be placed back on a vessel and transported by sea to a point of landing. The only exception was scallops opened at sea for consumption, but they would be part of the fisher's daily limit and any scallops landed must be in the shell.
For further information about recreational fishing limits visit fish.govt.nz
- The Marlborough Express