National Blue Cod Strategy

We have finalised the National Blue Cod Strategy. Find out about its development and how we plan to implement it.

UPDATE – 29 JANUARY 2019

Consultation starts

Fisheries New Zealand is seeking your feedback on the following proposed changes. In all cases we are also consulting on retaining the status quo as an option (i.e. there may be no change to these regulations):

  1. Require all fishers to have a minimum cod pot mesh size of 54mm
  2. Standardise the Minimum Legal Size (MLS) for recreational fishing at 33cm
  3. Require all recreational fishers to land blue cod in a measurable state
  4. Set a two-day accumulation limit for recreational fishing
  5. Change the recreational daily bag limits for some blue cod stocks, according to a ‘traffic light’ system.

The changes are one outcome of the National Blue Cod Strategy, a guiding document to manage blue cod in New Zealand that was released in late 2018. Other initiatives outlined in the strategy include: an integrated education and research programme, and reviews of the total allowable catch, total allowable commercial catch and allowances for key blue cod stocks later this year.

The changes are designed to ensure that areas that have been depleted by localised overfishing are rebuilt. In the Challenger East Area (including Marlborough Sounds), most of these measures (including a daily bag limit of 2) have been in place since December 2015 to ensure the ongoing sustainable utilisation of the fishery.

The consultation will run from 29 January until 5pm on 26 March (2019).

Fisheries New Zealand is available to meet with fishing clubs and other groups during the period of consultation to discuss the proposals and seek feedback. Email your request to FMSubmissions@mpi.govt.nz.

About the National Blue Cod Strategy

Fisheries New Zealand has collaborated with iwi, stakeholders and a blue cod expert group to develop and finalise the National Blue Cod Strategy.

The overarching aim of the strategy is to work together to deliver abundant and sustainable blue cod fisheries for all.

Release of the strategy

On 20 December 2018, Hon Stuart Nash (Minister of Fisheries) publicly endorsed the National Blue Cod Strategy.

The strategy takes a proactive approach to managing the blue cod fishery.

We will be consulting on a number of proposed regulatory changes in 2019 that are outlined in the strategy (the strategy itself is not being consulted on). We will release more information, including opportunities to meet with us to provide input into the options, closer to the time. So keep an eye out on this web page or in the media for updates.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the strategy, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Flow chart with 6 consultation stages (including workshops, meetings and surveys)
to guide development of a National Blue Cod Strategy. The current stage is stage 4 – 'Wider engagement 2'

A flow chart of the public consultation process to guide development of the National Blue Cod Strategy.

Stages listed in chronological order

Expert Workshop 1 
  • Develop aim and objectives
  • Develop online survey 1
Wider Engagement 1

Do you agree with the experts? Tell us about your fishery!

  • Online survey 1
  • Face-to-face meetings
Expert Workshop 2
  • Review wider feedback
  • Problems and solutions
  • Develop online survey 2
Wider Engagement 2

Have we got it right? Have we missed anything?

  • Online survey 2
  • Face-to-face meetings
Expert Workshop 3 
  • Review wider feedback
  • Draft the strategy document
National Blue Cod Strategy
  • Finalised and implemented
Change to fishery
  • Consultation on any changes that result from the strategy

[end image description]

Results of first round of public feedback

Photo by Malcom Francis
Photo: Malcolm Francis

In September 2017, MPI ran a nationwide online survey and held information meetings in the South Island (Wider Engagement 1). 

We wanted to find out what people thought:

  • of their local blue cod fisheries
  • were the major issues in their local blue cod fisheries
  • about the strategy's aim and objectives that were developed during the first expert workshop.

 

Download information distributed at the drop-in meetings [PDF, 4 MB]

 

Some key results

  • In general, the feedback indicated that blue cod fisheries in most areas are doing okay. However, it also suggested there are issues in some areas that need to be resolved.
  • The aim and objectives of the strategy were widely supported, including by 90% of the survey respondents.
  • Some of the main concerns nationally were recreational daily bag limits, total allowable commercial catch, released fish mortality, illegal take, and localised depletion.
  • The issues facing the blue cod fishery differ regionally, highlighting the different stresses facing local blue cod fisheries throughout the country.
  • More than 85% of respondents to the online survey were recreational fishers.

Find out more

A summary of the key findings [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Full report – results and feedback from Wider Engagement 1 [PDF, 7.4 MB]

Developing the options

On 17 October 2017, MPI held the second expert workshop in Christchurch. The purpose of the workshop was to:

  • review the results from Wider Engagement 1
  • begin developing options to achieve the aims and objectives of the strategy.

Results of second round of public feedback

Over 4 weeks in March and April 2018, we ran a second nationwide online survey and held more information meetings around the South Island, and one in Wellington (Wider Engagement 2).

We wanted to:

  • discuss the results of first round of engagement
  • find out what people thought of the proposals developed by the expert group
  • check whether we had missed anything that needed to be included.

Download posters presented at the drop-in sessions [PDF, 5.3 MB]

Some key results

  • 150 people attended the 9 information sessions.
  • 1,182 responses received for the second online survey from all over New Zealand.
  • In general, the majority of respondents were very supportive of the proposals.

We received strong support for the proposals in the strategy to address:

  • slow decision making
  • lack of education around blue cod's unique biology
  • current inconsistency in management approaches between areas
  • recreational rules (current bag limits and filleting at sea)
  • environmental impacts
  • lack of recreational catch data and fine-scale commercial data.

The strategy is currently being finalised and will be released in the coming months.

Find out more

A summary of the key findings 2 [PDF, 971 KB]

Full report – results and feedback from Wider Engagement 2 [PDF, 9.9 MB]

Blue cod species and stock status information

Want to know more about blue cod in your fishery area? 

Stay informed

You can keep up-to-date on our progress with the strategy on this web page or:

Or follow one of our recreational fisheries Facebook pages:

Who to contact

If you have questions about the blue cod strategy, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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