Find out about mitigation measures specific to recreational fisheries.

As with commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries can also interact, and impact upon, a wide range of marine protected species. Fishers can make small changes or learn new techniques to avoid negative impacts on protected species. 

Things you can do to be Seabird Smart, an initiative by Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.

Threats to protected species

Line fishing

Fishing activity can attract a wide range of seabirds to vessels for the opportunity of an easy meal. There are a range of measures fishers can make to reduce seabird activity around a vessel such as:

  • Keep bait covered and stored away
  • Keep deck free of fish waste
  • Drop bait or burely quickly below the diving depth of seabirds 
  • Return undersized fish well away from other lines actively fishing
  • Consider moving location if seabird activity increases considerably

Ghost fishing

Ghost fishing is where lost or abandoned fishing gear continues to catch fish and other marine animals over its lifetime. As fish become caught, predators can be attracted to nets and then become entangled and die also. There is limited information on ghost fishing in New Zealand though there is the potential for hundreds of commercial and recreational set nets that could be ghost fishing around NZ’s coastline. Nets must be adequately weighted and buoyed to avoid the loss of nets and soak times adhered to limit the threat of unwanted captures.

Pot line entanglement

Cetaceans can become entangled in both recreational and commercial cray pot lines. This can have a devastating effect on the animal, limiting its ability to dive or feed. This is a worldwide problem and research is going into measures to reduce the negative impact this can cause. 

How to report capture of a protected species

DOC is working with recreational fishers to understand how recreational fishing impacts protected marine species. You can help by reporting any accidental capture of protected fish, birds or other species.

Accidental capture is not illegal, but it’s a legal requirement to report accidental captures. Data you provide is confidential, anonymous, and will not result in any infringements or prosecution.

DOC is currently undertaking a reporting system trial in the Marlborough Sounds which will be extended throughout New Zealand in 2021.

More information on the reporting system trial

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