The Ministry of Fisheries carried out 27,500 recreational inspections in 2009.
The figure is up by 1000 on the previous year.
The ministry says the inspections found a compliance rate of 95%.
Deputy operations chief Andrew Coleman says the ministry is always working on the 5% who are breaking the rules.
Canterbury recorded an increase of 36% in inspections, the largest rise nationwide.
Otago and Southland both had increases of 20%.