South-East area fishing rules

Recreational fishing rules for the South-East area, including closures, restrictions, and other important notices.

Earthquake-related closure

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.

Details, including a map of the closed area, are in the 'Closures and restrictions' box on this page.

What you need to know

Map of South-East fishing area
Map of South-East fishing area

This area, includes the east coast of the South Island between Clarence Point near Kaikoura, down to Slope Point, Southland, and extending out 200 nautical miles to the Chatham Islands. However, it excludes a small area around Kaikoura, which has different rules.

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

This page is a summary of daily bag and size limits and closed and restricted areas.

For more information about rules you can:

You can also:

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.

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.

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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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