The Government plans to establish two marine parks for recreational fishing - and pay millions in compensation to the commercial interests that would be forced out.
Recreational fishers would still have to obey bag limits in the new parks, where most commercial fishing would be banned.
Prime Minister John Key made the announcement at Westhaven Marina in Auckland yesterday.
The parks, which will be a new concept created by a reform of current legislation, will cover parts of the inner Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds.
Mr Key said compensation could be paid to affected commercial fishers, which could be a one-off cost of up to $20 million.
He denied the move was a bid to get fishers onside after a controversial change in bag limit.
"My general feedback from recreational fishers is they haven't been uncomfortable in the change to bag limits, because they want to preserve the resource."
The proposed Hauraki Gulf park would cover the inner gulf and Omaha Bay and exclude all commercial activity.
The Marlborough Sounds park would affect only finfishing, meaning commercial fishers could continue to have marine farms and harvest species such as paua, scallop and crayfish within the park.
If re-elected, National will publish a discussion paper in November.
Further work would be needed to understand how the commercial fishing bans might impact numbers elsewhere. There are about 80 commercial fishing vessels fishing the Hauraki Gulf, according to the Government.
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith said he would expect the effect on the remaining commercial fishing areas and stocks to be minimal.
"This is a first for New Zealand ... these areas will be reserved predominantly for recreational fishing and will enhance the opportunity for Kiwi families to catch fish.
"These are small areas that are really significant for the recreationals, but from the commercial industry point of view, will not substantially undermine either the jobs or export earnings."
Geoff Rowling, president of Our Fishing Future, a recreational fishing lobby organisation, said it was positive the need for reform on fishing rights was being recognised.
However, he said yesterday's measures were not bold enough to make any real difference to fishers, given the acknowledgement that commercial activity was limited in the proposed zones.
Mr Rowling said the new parks could force small, local commercial fishers out and end up favouring the larger operators.