A rule change has been made to adjust the way minimum legal size for packhorse rock lobster is measured.
From 1 April 2024, fishers will need to measure the width of the tail for packhorse rock lobster and the tail width minimum legal size is 84mm for males and 90mm for females.
Director Fisheries Management, Fisheries New Zealand, Emma Taylor, says measuring the tail width is considered less stressful for the rock lobster and easier for fishers.
“The new tail width measurement for packhorse rock lobster is the same as the way spiny red rock lobster are measured, although it has a different minimum legal size.”
In 2022, Fisheries New Zealand sought public feedback on several proposals, including changing the way packhorse rock lobster are measured, as part of a package of technical regulatory amendments.
“The proposal was initially put forward by commercial rock lobster fishers, and Fisheries New Zealand proposed that the change would also apply to recreational fishers. Feedback we received supported the proposed changes for both commercial and recreational fishers.
“Packhorse rock lobster populations, particularly in the Far North, have increased in recent years and they have become more popular with all fishers.”
In 2021, a total allowable catch limit for packhorse rock lobster was set for the first time and the commercial catch limit was moderately increased, reflecting scientific information that suggested more could be sustainably harvested.
“Fishing rules change often so it’s important that people familiarise themselves with the rules before they go fishing. The easiest way to do this is to download the free NZ Fishing Rules App that, once downloaded, will also work outside of mobile phone coverage.
“Fishery officers will be enforcing this new rule by checking fishers have measured the tail width and not the tail length. Failure to measure these crayfish correctly could result in a fine.”
To check the rules or download the NZ Fishing Rules App, visit:
More information about this rule change, including the decision document, can be found on MPI’s website at:  MPI