WELLINGTON, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash is encouraging people to have their say on proposed changes to rules controlling the blue cod fishery, which is the third most popular recreational fish in New Zealand and are an iconic South Island species.
Proposed changes to regulations would apply to both recreational and commercial fishing, Nash said on Tuesday, adding the blue cod population is under pressure from a number of factors.
"Blue cod is one of our most popular eating fish but the species is vulnerable due to overfishing, changes to the marine environment such as warmer seas and pollution, and issues with their unique biology and life cycle," Nash said in a statement.
The proposed changes to the recreational fishing rules include lowering daily bag limits in the South Island, which are up to 30 fish per day in some areas, he said.
The proposals also include the introduction of a two-day accumulation limit on the number of fish, a requirement for blue cod to be landed in a measurable state, and a standardized minimum legal size of landed blue cod to 33 cm nationwide.
"Changes proposed for both commercial and recreational fishers include introducing a minimum mesh size for cod pots of 54 mm," the minister said.
"Blue cod stocks are becoming depleted," he said, adding the ministry is proposing new rules to address the decline, and to make the regulations more consistent nationwide.
The consultation is now open for the public until March 26, and the information and feedback received through this process will be considered to make a decision on any potential change, Nash said.