Bay recreational fishers say new snapper fishing rules set to come into force next week should also apply to commercial fishermen.

The number of snapper allowed to be caught by recreational fishers will drop from nine to seven fish per day on April 1 and the size limit will increase from 27 cm to 30 cm.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said the changes to the Snapper 1 bags and size limits were part of a long-term plan to improve New Zealand's most valuable inshore fishery.

Mount Maunganui fisherman Wayne Edwards said he agreed with the new rules.


"There's not a huge difference between a 27 and 30 cm fish," he said.

Mr Edwards said he always tried to catch snapper between 35 to 40 cm and would throw back smaller fish.

The Mount Maunganui local, who had been fishing for more than 20 years, said the rule regarding the number of fish was also fair.

"Eighty to 90 per cent of the time you would be struggling to catch nine fish yourself anyway."

However, Mr Edwards said he did not think the rules should just apply to recreational fishers.

"The commercial guys bring home so much more in weight."

Mr Edwards said a better way to replenish the fish stocks in New Zealand would be to ban fishing certain species for a season or two.

"By banning a species for a season they then have two breeding cycles to regenerate, we could do it right through all fish and shellfish."


LegaSea spokesman Adam El-Agez said: "Shore fishermen don't catch much anyway, these people didn't cause the problem but are being burdened with the new regulations,"

Trawlers going out to sea and then throwing back their catches was the problem, he said.