Challenger area fishing rules

Recreational fishing rules for the Challenger area, including closures, restrictions, and other important notices.

New restrictions on pāua

On 12 December 2019, the recreational limit for pāua changed in Canterbury, Marlborough, and Nelson.

The daily bag limit for pāua has been reduced to 5, and the accumulation limit to 10 pāua or 1.25kg of minced meat. This applies to both black-foot and yellow-foot pāua.

These changes are in the Canterbury (PAU3) and Nelson/Marlborough (PAU7) fisheries.

Note, the shellfish closure in Kaikōura and South Marlborough area from Marfells Beach to the Conway River remains.


Southern Scallop Fishery and Port Underwood

  • The Marlborough Sounds, Tasman Bay, Golden Bay and Port Underwood are closed to scallop fishing from 15 July 2018 until further notice.


Due to the earthquake of 14 November 2016, fisheries in the Kaikōura and Cape Campbell regions are closed:

  • Collection of shellfish and seaweed is prohibited between Marfells Beach and the Conway River out to a distance of 4 nautical miles.
  • This closure does not apply to rock lobster, scampi or octopus. These may be gathered in this area.

Find out more

Details of closures, including maps of the closed areas, are in the box called 'Closures and restrictions'

What you need to know

Map of Challenger fishing area


This area extends along the West Coast of the South Island north of Awarua Point, and around to Clarence Point on the east coast.

All recreational fishing – including potting, netting and all other fishing methods – is covered by rules.

Remember, if you're a recreational fisher, selling any fish or shellfish you catch is illegal.


Ways to check the rules

This page has a summary of:

You can also check rules in our brochures, use the free NZ Fishing Rules app, or text us. You'll also see signs about rules at many fishing spots.

Get a brochure

Download the free NZ Fishing Rules app

Or free text "app" to 9889 to be sent the links to your phone. Once installed, the app will work without an internet connection.

Use our free text service

Send a free text to 9889 with the name of a species.

For example, text "blue cod" or "pāua" to 9889. You'll be sent legal bag and size limits for that species by return text.


Limits, closures, and restrictions

New restrictions from 1 October 2020

On 1 October 2020, new measures restricting recreational set-net fishing will take effect along the west coast of the North Island, and the north, south, and east coasts of the South Island. In addition, drift netting will be prohibited in all New Zealand waters.

Find out about the new restrictions

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.

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.

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.

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