The daily limits on recreationally caught hāpuku and bass will be lowered to a total of two per person in some areas, with a new accumulation limit of three per person on multi-day trips, oceans and fisheries minister David Parker announced. The new rule was put in place from 28 November and the minister said it would aid the recovery of stocks in some areas.
The changes apply to the North Island and the west coast of the South Island, in the Auckland East and Auckland West, Central and Challenger recreational fishing areas.
“Hāpuku is a highly-valued fish for recreational, customary, and commercial fishers alike,” the minister said. “These changes follow significant cuts to commercial catch allowances and will further support the sustainability of these fish.
“There are fishing spots around the country that unofficially or officially bear the same name – Groper Rock, or Hāpuku River – because they were once common there. Sadly, it’s very unlikely people will
be able to find hāpuku in those places now.”
The minister added that feedback from fishers across the North Island and upper South Island signalled widespread concern for hāpuku and bass fisheries in these areas.
“Information from commercial catch reporting has also shown a downward trend in these fish in those areas, supporting those concerns.”
The new changes include:
- Recreationally caught hāpuku and bass will no longer have a combined daily bag limit with kingfish of five in these areas
- Recreational daily limit of two hāpuku and/or bass per person per day
- A new accumulation limit (for a multi-day fishing trip) of a maximum of three hāpuku and/or bass
- Kingfish will continue to have a daily limit of three kingfish per person per day.
Public consultation on the changes was part of Fisheries New Zealand’s regular reviews in October 2021 and April 2022. From the October 2021 review of northern hāpuku and bass stocks, commercial catch allowances decreased from 480.8 tonnes to 140 tonnes in Northland, Auckland, and Bay of Plenty and 266.2 to 80 tonnes in East Cape, Hawke’s Bay, and Wellington.
Following the April 2022 review, commercial catch allowances decreased from 235.5 to 97 tonnes in West Coast South Island and from 80.1 to 55 tonnes in Taranaki.