Starting in the 2021/22 fishing season, Fish & Game has introduced new regulations to allow for a season bag limit. This now applies to sea-run salmon fishing in the North Canterbury and Central South Island regions, and there is a $5 fee to cover the cost of printing and sending out the cards.
Why is there a season bag limit?
The salmon fishery is in a precarious state. When salmon come back to rivers from the sea they are returning to spawn. Fish that are caught by anglers do not spawn and do not contribute to the next generation of fish. By managing angler catch with a season bag limit, anglers are making a greater contribution to the future of the fishery.
This is the single most important change to how Fish & Game manages sea run salmon since they were introduced 120 years ago.
Holders of a whole season licence will be eligible to purchase an additional Sea-run Salmon licence to fish for Sea-run Salmon in the North Canterbury and Central South Island regions and keep up to a maximum of two sea-run salmon for the whole season across both regions.
Once you have bought an eligible whole-season fishing licence you can apply for a $5 Sea-run Salmon licence. With your licence, you will receive a Sea-run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card.
You will be required to carry your Sea-run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card with you and record immediately all the details of any sea-run salmon kept.
At the end of the season, all anglers must return their Season Bag Limit Card to either North Canterbury or Central South Island Fish & Game, regardless of how many such salmon were taken or killed.
You must produce your Season Bag Limit Card to a Fish & Game Ranger on demand.
Getting A Sea-run Salmon Licence
Summary of the regulations
All licence holders who fish in sea-run salmon waters (as defined by the Sports Fish Licences, Fees, and Forms Notice 2023) must first obtain a sea-run salmon licence (as defined by the Sports Fisheries Licences, Fees, and Forms Notice 2023).
All holders of a Sea-run Salmon Licence are eligible to receive a Season Bag Limit Card.
Family licence holders that have a Sea-run Salmon Licence are eligible for one Season Bag Limit Card per family licence.
No licence holder shall fish for, take, kill or be in possession of a salmon from sea run salmon waters within the Central South Island Fish and Game Region without holding a Season Bag Limit Card.
No licence holder shall over the length of the season take, kill or be in possession of more than two salmon from sea run salmon waters in both the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish and Game regions.
Immediately upon taking or killing a salmon from sea run salmon waters the licence holder must complete an entry in their Season Bag Limit Card for that fish.
All licence holders that fished for salmon from sea run salmon waters in either the North Canterbury or Central South Island Fish and Game regions must return their Season Bag Limit Card to either the North Canterbury or Central South Island Fish and Game Council at the end of the season, regardless of how many such salmon were taken or killed.
All holders of a Season Bag Limit Card must produce it to a Fish and Game Ranger on demand.