Labour leader David Shearer has used a couple of fishy props in Parliament to demand the Government scales back its controversial proposals to limit recreational snapper take.

Mr Shearer whipped out two snapper in the House during Question Time this afternoon, one noticeably smaller than the other.

He asked Prime Minister John Key: "Does he think it's fair that a commercial fisher can catch a snapper as small as 25cm but a recreational fisher has to go to 36cm?"

Mr Key responded that if Mr Shearer's new chief of staff Fran Mold recommended that he bring dead fish into Parliament, "then she's dead as well".


Mr Key then sought leave to have Mr Shearer table the larger snapper "so I can have it for dinner".

A proposal to raise the minimum snapper size for recreational fishers from 27cm to 36cm is one of the options put forward by the Ministry for Primary Industries to help rebuild populations in the "snapper 1" fishery.

There is also a proposal to cut the snapper bag limit from 9 to 3.

The proposals have prompted opposition from both sides of the House, and have been slammed at a series of public meetings.

Mr Shearer said the snapper, which left a rank smell in Parliament's corridors, had been purchased frozen at the fish market on Auckland's waterfront and had flown down with the Labour leader to Wellington.