Commercial fishing on blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds needs to be addressed immediately, says Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley as he announced new rules for recreational anglers. According to the information the rules are designed to protect the blue cod fishery in the Sounds. The fishery was closed to recreational anglers for four years in October 2008 because of overfishing.
Heatley said that management rules for the fishery include bag and fish size limits, a limited season and no-take zones and were designed to keep the number of fish being taken at a sustainable level, and to protect spawning. Former Marlborough Recreational Fishers president Lloyd Hanson questioned why limits were not being put on commercial operators, which he felt were partly responsible for dwindling stocks.
In a press meet Heatley explained why he went against the Blue Cod Management Group’s recommendation to close the fishery between September and February, instead opening it on December 20 from next year. He added that the trade-off was a daily bag limit of two per angler along with the single daily bag limit. He is confident that the new rules would improve the management plan of the government.