Is Spearfishing Legal in New Zealand?

Spearfishing is a popular fishing activity in New Zealand, and it is one of the oldest methods of fishing. It involves catching fish with a spear or other sharp object, often while freediving. The activity has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its low-impact nature and the challenge that it presents to anglers.

The practice of spearfishing is legal in New Zealand, however there are some rules and regulations that must be followed if you wish to partake in this activity. For example, the use of spearguns or any other mechanical devices to capture fish is prohibited, as well as using a light source such as a torch.

In addition, there are also rules regarding the size and type of fish that can be taken when spearfishing. The minimum size for most species is 20 cm from the tip of the nose to the end of its tail fin, although some species may have different minimum sizes.

Spearfishers must also adhere to bag limits when spearing. This means that they cannot take more than a certain number of fish per day or per trip. These bag limits are set by local authorities and can vary from region to region.

Finally, all spearfishers must ensure that they abide by applicable laws when engaging in this activity. This includes having an appropriate license or permit if needed, as well as being aware of any closed areas where fishing is prohibited.


Yes, spearfishing is legal in New Zealand but there are a few important rules and regulations that must be followed. It is important for spearfishers to ensure they have an appropriate license or permit if needed and also check any closed areas before heading out on their adventure.

Photo of author

Emma Gibson