1 Apr 2011

Fishery reopening welcomed - but there's a catch

10:01 pm on 1 April 2011

Recreational fishers are welcoming the reopening of the Marlborough Sounds blue cod fishery but are unhappy the catch limit for commercial fishers is unchanged.

The fishery closed in 2008 for four years to rebuild stocks verging on collapse; it has reopened early because fish numbers have sufficiently recovered.

Recreational fishers can now take two cod per person per day but all fish must be between 30 and 35 centimetres long.

The commercial sector, which fishes about 20% of the cod fishery, was not affected by the closure and catch size limits.

The Government says the industry will be closely monitored.

But the president of the Tasman and Sounds Recreational Fishers Association, Martyn Barlow, is questioning how effective that will be.

He says it's disheartening to have to put back any blue cod over 35cm, allowing the commercial industry to then catch them.

Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley says catch limits will be reviewed and restricted if commercial operators plunder stocks.