Marine Reserves

General Kayak Fishing Discussions
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Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:11 pm

Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:17 pm

How close is too close?

I have fished some spots recently with marine reserves in close proximity (with no notable fish I might add :drunk: ) and due to wind or current, drifted pretty close to the boundaries before shifting away again. It got me thinking about the etiquette surrounding this and am interested in your opinions.

Is it considered bad form to be fishing so close or right by the boundaries? Or is it a bit more black and white - you're either in or you're out - no matter how close you may be.

Personally, I think it makes sense to have a bit of a buffer and not drift too close, or just fish another area - but some of these reserves are right next to prime fishing ground and I'm not convinced that this is a coincidence! It can be frustrating paddling away from a bite that happens to be close to the boundary!

Hope you've all had a good summer so far!
Last edited by TBreezy on Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:39 pm

I've watched a guy retrieve and set nets literally a few metres away and parallel to the boundary (The second time I was onshore and sighted a line between the markers, he was outside - just). He is within his rights, but a lot of hassle. There isn't a magical line that fish don't cross.

I would be wary in a yak, aside from drift, GPS errors etc - suppose you get that lifetime 30kg Kingy and it pulls you into the reserve just as a concerned local snaps you... Rod bent and scoring an own goal.

I don't even paddle through reserves when I've got fishing gear on board.
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:06 am

Personally I'd stay completely away.

The ocean is big, plenty of other spots to fish than a few areas marked down to try and help the fish get a break.

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Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:14 am

I don't consider it' bad form' to fish close to the boundaries.
After all the boundaries are just that, fishing inside is an offence but outside is OK.
Having said that I've never done particularly well fishing on the edges of marine reserves

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Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:43 am

As tempting as it might seem to Fish close (and yes I’ve done it ) as HLD says I think it’s juts too much of a risk...

I can recall once paddling thru a reserve with another Forum member with all our gear “up”and not fishing at all, when out of the blue we got a “ friendly” call from who we suspect was a local commercial guy “reminding us” we were in a reserve and checking to make sure we weren’t fishing !.. you never know who is watching !
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:11 pm

Always gives me a chuckle when I see guys trying to get within metres of marine reserves like it’s going to be the answer to something. Newsflash - fish move around quite a lot, put a bit of effort in and you will find them.

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Marc N
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:16 pm

Yes, the fish can't see our imaginary boundaries.

If I was near a reserve, I'd position myself about 500 metres up current.
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Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:01 am

It's perfectly legal to fish near the boundary of a reserve. But if you go over the line there is no excuse - you are strictly liable. You risk a fine and forfeiture of any/all equipment used in the fishing activity. This includes any car/trailer you used to transport your kayak. People have been convicted for allowing their boat to drift into a reserve while retrieving fish.

Fishing near reserves can be productive, but this depends on the underwater features. A lot of reserve designs include a buffer zone of featureless seabed around the reef or whatever, closest to the reserve boundary. Most studies on marine reserves fail to prove any spill-over effect. This is possibly because establishing a reserve concentrates fishing effort into a reduced area of coastline.

Fish are bolder around divers in marine reserves, so they do seem to learn they are safe. I've been on a research vessel undertaking line fishing surveys in a reserve - under a special permit for a DoC funded research programme. The fish were absolutely reckless. I suspect at high population densities they have to be aggressive due to the competition for food.
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