Pots and Traps

Pots and Traps

Crayfish Cray Pots

Crayfish Cray Pots

Cray Pots designed for NZ conditions, Suitable for Boat and Beach use.  Several different types, shapes and sizes available

Crab Pots

Crab Pots

Crab Pots designed for NZ Conditions Suitable for Boat and Beach use.

Several different types.

Eel Fyke Net

Eel Fyke Net

Hinaki  Eel Net - Fyke net  Heavy Duty  1-00"  Raschel mesh 10ft wing High Quality. 

Suitable for all NZ EELS.

Pots and Traps






Selecting your crayfish pot and net and information regarding the handling and measuring of lobsters.

We have a large range of Cray Pots - Crab Pots - Pull Pots and Eel-Fyke Nets suitable for recreational use in local NZ waters.

New Zealand rock lobsters found around our coastline and offshore islands, are referred to as "crayfish", a name more correctly applied to freshwater species.  They are often fished by commercial, recreational and by Maori customary fishers.  The sustainable management of our rock lobster fisheries is supported by an extensive research programme and an enforcement and compliance regime.

Life cycle


Mating occurs within a few weeks of the female moult.  Females bear up to 550,000 eggs depending on locality and their size. Eggs are carried under the tail, for up to 6 months before hatching. The eggs hatch into spider-like larvae that drift freely as part of the plankton in open waters for at least 9-12 months, where they fall prey to a variety of plankton feeders. The survivors may move considerable distances with ocean currents, returning to inshore areas to settle on the bottom as transparent puerulii, which resemble miniature adults. At this stage they may suffer heavy predation from bottom feeding fish, until they find adequate shelter.  Recreational fishing can have a significant impact on stocks in some areas.


Distribution, habitat and movement


Both Red rock lobsters and Packhorse rock lobsters are widespread throughout New Zealand, particularly in coastal areas where there is plenty of cover.   Rock lobsters usually move by night to search for food and shelter, returning to the safety of crevices during the day. They eat a wide variety of bottom life, with a preference for shellfish, crabs, seaweeds, small fish and sea urchins.   There is also a seasonal movement into shallow water for moulting and mating, and another when females move to the edges of reefs to spawn their eggs.  Rock lobster migrate in large numbers. Movements of up to 460 km by red rock lobsters, and up to 1070 km by packhorse lobster have been recorded.


Growth and Age


To increase size, a rock lobster must shed or moult its shell and grow a new larger one which is initially soft, leaving it very vulnerable to predators. It absorbs water rapidly and expands to its new size. The shell hardens within a few days, taking longer to thicken to full strength. Moulting frequency and times depend on age and sex.  Legal size is attained in 5-10 years, depending on the sex of the lobster, area, and growth rates. Rock lobster may live for over 30 years.


Recreational fishery


Recreational fishing for the daily limit, 6 legal rock lobster per fisher, is largely based on diving, but baited pots are also used.  The need for different minimum legal sizes.  Tail width measurement is used to determine the legal size for red or spiny rock lobster. Females of similar body sizes have wider tails than males, so different minimum legal sizes are needed for each. This contributes to the effectiveness of the escape gaps that must be used in all rock lobster pots. Escape gaps reduce the damage to, and possible mortalities of, juvenile rock lobster.  


Pot limits  - Know the rock lobster pot limits:

  • Individuals may use, set, or possess up to three rock lobster pots in any one day.

  • Two or more individuals fishing from a vessel may use, set, or possess up to six rock lobster pots in any one day.

  • Paterson Inlet – Within Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island - those waters lying inside a line between Ackers Point and Bullers Point on The Neck, there is a limit of two rock lobster pots per person.

  • Mimiwhangata – No person may use more than one pot per person per vessel.

  • Regulation escape gaps to allow undersized lobsters to escape

  • Round or beehive pots must have at least 3 escape gaps or apertures - other than the mouth. Each aperture must have an inside dimension of not less than 54 mm x 200 mm. 

  • Square or rectangular pots must have at least two escape gaps or apertures- other than the mouth in opposite faces of the pot. Each aperture shall not be less than 80% of the height or length of the face of the pot in which the apertures are contained. 

  • Each aperture shall have an inside dimension of not less than 54 mm x 200 mm. 


Any rock lobster pot constructed entirely of unaltered spot welded mesh with inside dimensions of 54 mm x 140 mm does not have to have escape gaps or apertures, but pots must be used without covers or liners or have covers or liners that leave unencumbered at least 80 per cent of the surface area of each of 2 opposite sides.  No escape gap or aperture shall be incorporated in either the top or the bottom of any pot.

This information has been provided by the Ministry of Primary Industries.