Only Marlborough Sounds fishers can currently report accidental captures of protected animals. This is because we're running a pilot of this programme, which will launch for all fishers in 2021.
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 is a legal requirement to report accidental captures. Data you provide is confidential, anonymous, and will not result in any infringements or prosecution.
How to report capture of a protected species
We would like to hear about the catch, even if it is released unharmed.
If you're fishing in Marlborough Sounds, you can then report your accidental capture by phone, online or by using the Protected Species Catch app. Once you know what you've caught, let us know by either:
- calling 0800 REK FISH (0800 735 3474)
- using the Protected Species Catch app
Download the Protected Species Catch app
You can download the Protected Species Catch app on your mobile phone for faster reporting. You can also learn more about marine health in your region.
Only fishers in the Marlborough Sounds region can use the app until the full launch in 2021.
Get the app:
Or find the app by:
- searching for 'Protected Species Catch' by XEquals
Once installed, follow the steps to anonymously report your catch.
This app does not collect any personal information. Your use of the app and any reports you make are anonymous.
The app will only record the area (or closest bay) you select from a list for each report so your precise location is not recorded.
View your report and others on our map
You can see your and others reports on our online map and view a graph of catch trends. New reports are added a few days after submission. Currently the map shows Marlborough Sounds reports from December 2020 - February 2021.
You can explore catches by category, area or fishing method. Hovering over a catch location shows further details including species, date, and whether the animal was injured.
How your report helps marine protection
With about 650,000 recreational fishers catching nearly 11 million fish and other species every year, even small and infrequent individual events can add up to big losses for conservation. Your report will help us to understand where this could occur and take steps to help.
We hope to reduce accidental catch of marine protected species to zero by 2050. To do this, we need to better understand how and where accidental captures occur. This requires the support of our treaty partner and fishers like you.
We have little empirical data on how many, where, and how protected species are being caught, or which species are most at-risk. But research shows that fishing activities including the use of hooks, pots, and set-nets result in the accidental catch of protected species.
Other ways we're working with recreational fishers
In 2020, we commissioned an independent report to design a framework to work with fishers for better marine protection. It gathered nationwide feedback from over 800 recreational fishers, and interviews with Māori and key stakeholders.
In our national 2020 survey, we found:
- 91% of recreational fishers believe that bycatch is an issue. Most want to actively avoid catching protected species.
- 82% of fishers felt it was moderately to extremely important for DOC to understand protected species bycatch of recreational fishing, and
- 75% are open to confidentially reporting accidental catch
However, less than half felt they had a good understanding of which species are protected. So based on these responses, the pilot program aims to:
- help fishers learn to identify marine protected species
- test data-collection options such as a reporting app, boat ramp surveys, and our 0800 REK FISH (0800 735 3474) phone line
- run a trial to build our understanding of how many marine protected species may be caught
Based on this report, we're launching a national programme alongside iwi, Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and other key organisations. The programme will work with fishers to support protected marine species. It begins with a regional pilot project in Marlborough Sounds.
Working with fishers in Marlborough Sounds
In December 2020, we launched a pilot program for fishers in the Marlborough Sounds. The pilot project asks recreational fishers in the Sounds to anonymously tell us about their experiences with protected species while fishing this summer.
To support this, we set up a regional focus group consisting of Māori and representatives from key organisations with close associations to fishing in the area and marine conservation.
The Marlborough Sounds were chosen as the pilot location due to the responses we received in the survey and the support of iwi and local community groups.
DOCs work with marine protected species
To learn more about the work that we are doing to protect marine species, visit our Conservation Services Programme page.