Recreational fishing is an important part of my life. I've fished 1 - 3 times a week ever since I arrived in NZ a year ago. My personal view is that the current bag limit is too high and the minimum size too small. A 27 cm snapper is tiny. I rarely bring home more than one fish and if I do, it's a total of two/three as I give some to my elderly neighbours.
I don't kill fish less than 45 cm because it's not worth the effort of filleting them and I only use artificial lures (soft baits), so all fish are hooked and released in a manner compatible with survival (no gut hooked fish). Today I caught 9 legal snapper and released 7 of them. Last trip, I caught 13 and released 11. A few weeks a go, I caught 20 from outside my front door and released 17, you get the idea.
It seems that the politicians have set the recreational fisherman against the commercials and everybody is trying to grab what they can. This is a shame because there is only one population of snapper and it will not recover if changes aren't made.
Having said all of that, I have serious issues with commercial fishing in NZ. It's possible that the dead and wasted by-catch from trawling is as bad as it is anywhere in the world. Nobody really knows, but we are talking about tonnes of dead juvenile snapper being dumped in to the sea. Many of the commercial fishing practices are damaging to the environment and fish stocks and nobody seems to be addressing this.
...and while I'm having a rant, NZ is a major exported of shark fins - seriously, what the bubbles?
Coming from a country, actually a continent where fish stocks have collapsed, I think this fishery is too important to play politics with. The commercial sector needs clean up its act or be forced to and the recreational anglers need to realise that their actions have consequences too.