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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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It is not necessary to take out a licence for marine species. Netting and fishing with lines are popular throughout New Zealand. More recently, particularly in the North Island, surf casting and skin diving have become popular; many fish such as snapper, kahawai, marlin, sharks, etc., are taken by these methods. Size limits and, in some cases, amateur catch limits apply, as the same species are also caught for sale by licensed fishermen.

Big game fishing is a major sport, with hire launches operating from many ports, such as Bay of Islands, Whangarei, Tauranga, Mayor Island, etc., during the season November to June. Striped marlin and mako shark are the principal species taken, other species including black and blue marlin, various tuna, and sharks. About 60 per cent of the fish are captured from boats operating from Bay of Islands and Tauranga areas.

The following table sets out the catches for the 1959–63 seasons:

Big Game Fishing
Species 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963
Black marlin 12 27 22 8 18
Striped marlin 375 305 497 167 161
Blue marlin 1 14 18 4 14
Mako shark 206 216 231 139 180
Other species 49 151 826 795 901
Total 643 713 1,594 1,113 1,274

Catches of big game fish increased spectacularly in 1961, when about double the earlier catches were taken. World big game fishing contests have been held in New Zealand waters, the most recent being in 1960.

by Brian Turnbull Cunningham, B.SC., Senior Fishery Officer, Marine Department, Wellington.