Fishing rules

Everyone who fishes recreationally in New Zealand has a legal requirement to follow the recreational fishing rules. The rules change regularly – so check the rules for your fishing area every time you head out fishing.

Choose your fishing area to check the rules

New Zealand has 7 fishing areas. You need to follow the specific fishing rules for the area where you're fishing. Click on the map of your fishing area to check the rules, closures, and restrictions:

Auckland Kermadec fishing area map Central fishing area map
Auckland and Kermadec area

Central area

South-East area fishing map Kaikoura area fishing map

South-East area

Kaikōura area

Challenger fishing area map Fiordland fishing area map
Challenger area

Fiordland area

Southland fishing area map NZ Fishing app logo
Southland area

Get the rules on your phone

It is illegal to buy, sell or swap recreationally caught seafood

These are offences against the Fisheries Act which can result in fines up to $250,000.

Ways to keep informed about the rules

You can:

You'll also see signage about rules at many fishing spots.

Note, you don't need a licence to fish in saltwater seas around New Zealand but you do need a licence to fish in freshwater (lakes and rivers).

Follow us on Facebook

We have some regional pages to bring you information about the fishing rules and how we manage and protect local fisheries.

Follow the Facebook page for:

Report poaching

Report poaching, suspicious, or illegal activity – call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email

You can help us by providing:

  • the location
  • vehicle/trailer registration number
  • boat name
  • description of the person

When reporting any suspected poaching put your personal safety first. All calls and personal details are treated as confidential.

Last reviewed: