New regulations for Marlborough Sounds cod

  • 09/10/2015
Fishing for blue cod is now simpler (File)
Fishing for blue cod is now simpler (File)

The rules for fishing for blue cod in the Marlborough Sound have been simplified.

The Government has axed the unpopular "slot rule", which deemed only fish between 30cm and 35cm long could be caught, and replaced it with a minimum size of 33cm.

It has also scrapped the transit rule, which had prevented blue cod caught outside the Sounds being brought in.

"These new rules are based on science and the views of submitters and advice from the Blue Cod Management Group," said Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The public had strongly protested that the previous rules were confusing and complicated, he said.

"The scientific information also showed they may not have been supporting a rebuild in blue cod numbers in some parts of the Marlborough Sounds."

The season will open on December 19, and fishers will also be limited to two fish a day, no-filleting rules and hook limits.

Blue cod is a popular target in the Sounds as they are tasty and take bait easily. However, they are slow-growing and a lack of females have seen their numbers crash.

The fishery was closed in 2008 over concerns about low numbers and didn't reopen until 2011.

However, the strict rules imposed on reopening proved contentious and research showed the fish weren't faring any better.