Some members have expressed concerns regarding trawling in the Port. This followed the observation of dead fish on the shore following trawling. The following points may assist members to understand the position regarding trawling:

  • Trawling is a legal and permitted activity in Port Underwood provided the vessel has a fishing permit and the skipper has the required class of ticket.
  • Provided these conditions are met then the permit holder/skipper is entitled to land any fish commercially caught.
  • There is a voluntary Code of Conduct whereby fishers agree not to trawl within Port Underwood (the area inside a line from Robertson Point to southern Ocean Bay) from Christmas Eve to the first Tuesday after Easter.
  • As a voluntary code, this is not legally enforceable.
  • The code has, however, been accepted and adhered to by the commercial industry.
  • When new boats/skippers to the area have breached the code the existing fishing community have made the skippers aware of the code.

How fishing is regulated:

o   By the 15th of the month following landing the permit holder must hold quota shares (A.C.E. – Annual Catch Entitlement; this can be either owned or leased) for the landed fish species and volume (kg’s).

o   Where this condition is not met then the permit holder pays an interim deemed value to the crown for any fish caught in excess/without ACE.

o   Where the permit holder does not acquire ACE before the end of the fishing year then a further ‘full’ deemed value bill is generated (i.e. a further -balancing – bill).  Typically this ‘full’ deemed value bill is in excess of the commercial value of the fish caught to act as a disincentive.

o   Any fish caught that are a commercial quota species must be recorded to come off the ACE and landed unless they are on a schedule that says they can be returned to the sea alive and well (currently only paua and crayfish) or if they are under the minimum legal size (M.L.S.).

o   Any fish that are NOT a commercial quota species can be landed or discarded and, if discarded, do not need to be recorded.


  • As with any perceived offending (whether it be commercial or recreational) if anyone observes such suspected activity it is vital to get as many details as possible and to report the activity promptly so that something can be done about it.
  • Commercial vessels will have a large number of the side of them (both port and starboard), which should be recorded as well as dates/times/location of any activity.
  • Photo’s are always helpful.
  • This information can then be passed onto the fisheries compliance team for any breaches or to the commercial stakeholder organisations if the Code of Conduct is breached.
  • Where there is a perceived breach, or potential breach, it may be advisable to contact a member of the Association’s committee as they may be able to assist if there are questions or guide the complainant to an appropriate person.
  • The contact details of the local compliance office is:

Compliance Officer

Ministry of Primary Production (Fisheries)

Marlborough Research Centre

State Highway 1 (Picton bound)



Compliance Officer

Ministry of Primary Production (Fisheries)

Private Bag 1007

Blenheim 7240


Phone (03) 579 1088

Fax (03) 579 5208

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