Soundfish Inc.
      PO Box 313, Picton

We have a selection of frequently asked questions divided into recreational, customary and commercial.


Where can I find the recreational fishing limits for the Marlborough Sounds?
These can be found at under the ‘recreational’ tab.
Or you can contact the local Ministry of Fisheries office on (03) 579 1088.

What should I do if I suspect someone is illegally selling fish or shellfish?
If you suspect someone is selling fish illegally, take as many details as you can (location, time, date, car registration etc) and call 0800 4POACHER. Do not buy the fish if you suspect it is illegal.

Am I allowed to sell the fish that I catch as a recreational fisher?
No. It is a serious offence for anyone such as recreational or customary fishers to sell their catch. Selling includes offering for sale, swap and barter.

What should I do if I suspect someone is taking too many fish or shellfish?
The Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 set out the maximum number of finfish, shellfish and rock lobster which may be taken or possessed by any one person, in any day. This means that a person who accumulates more than his/her daily limit will be charged with breaches of the regulations.

If you see someone taking more than their fair share, note down as many details as you can (location, time, date, car registration etc) and call 0800 4POACHER (0800 4 76224). Fishery officers will respond to your call and investigate the situation.


Who are Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki

Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki are individuals or groups who can authorize customary fishing permits within their rohe moana, in accordance with tikanga Maori. Their appointments area confirmed by the Minister responsible for the regulations after notification by the Tangata Whenua. Tangata Whenua is defined as the whanau, hapu or iwi, who hold manawhenua manamoana over a particular area.

Can non-Maori apply for a customary fishing authorization?
Yes. Customary fishing rights not only govern access to fish, they determine the right to manage fishing activity. The right belongs to the Tangata Whenua - those Maori holding traditional authority over a particular area. The principle of manaakitanga, or ‘looking after one’s neighbours’, is a major part of customary practice. If the Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki decides it is appropriate to issue a customary fishing authorisation to someone who is not Tangata Whenua, they are able to do so.


What is the Quota Management System?
The QMS was introduced in 1986 to ensure sustainable utilization of fisheries resources through the use of a defined quota share to control of harvest levels for each species in a nominated geographical area called a Quota Management Area (QMA). 

What are Quota Shares?
Quota shares are a property right that represents the quota owner’s share of a commercial fishery. There are 100 million shares allocated for each fish stock. There are also restrictions in the Fisheries Act 1996 which controls the ownership of New Zealand quota by overseas persons or companies.

Owning quota shares does not allow you to take fish. The amount of quota shares owned just determines the amount of Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) that is generated each year.

What is Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE)?
ACE is a property right, which gives the holder the right to harvest a certain weight of a fish stock each fishing year. Quota shares generate an amount of ACE at the beginning of each fishing year. This means that each person who owns quota shares will be allocated a quantity of ACE for them to harvest in that fishing year.

Where can I find out about assessment figures for fish stock sustainability?
This information is available at the Ministry of Fisheries website. It is a summary of the assessments of the sustainability of current TACCs and recent catch levels and the status of the stocks for the last fishing year. Each summary stock assessment is linked to the detailed stock assessment and research results.

How do I identify a particular or unusual fish?
The NZ Seafood Industry Council have published the Guidebook to New Zealand Commercial Fish Species.

The Te Papa 'Fish Team' can help you with this. They say: "If you find an unusual or rare fish, or simply one you would like to have identified, we are happy to do this for you, and if the specimen is important we will give you a copy of one of our books in exchange for the specimen. We prefer to receive frozen specimens so we can record important information on colours before the fish is preserved." More details and contact information is available at the Te Papa website.

How many species are fished commercially in NZ?

How many species are in the quota management system?

How much quota is owned by Maori?
Around 50% of fishing quota is owned by Maori.

What is the estimated commercial fish resource value (2008)?
NZ$ 3.97b

What is the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (2008/2009)?
586,000 tonne

The Minister wants to create recreational fishing only areas. There is talk about making the Marlborough Sounds a recreational only fishing area.
Why would we do this??

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