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Rules & regulations

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Didymo Biosecurity Alert

What anglers can do to prevent didymo

To help prevent the spread of didymo (rock snot) and other organisms in New Zealand fishing waters anglers must always check, clean and dry their equipment when moving items between waterways.

If you are bringing used freshwater fishing equipment into New Zealand it must be clean and completely dry.

Throughout New Zealand, the user of felt-soled waders or footwear is banned.


Note that it is an offence to knowingly spread didymo. Penalties of a 5 year prison sentence or fine of up to $100,000 apply.

Where didymo has been found

Areas identified as being affected by didymo as of 1 May 2008 include:

Region Rivers
Baton, Buller, Fyfe, Motueka, Owen, Mangles, Matiri, Gowan, Takaka, Cobb, Clarence, Waimea, Waingaro and Wairau Rivers; Sandstone and Speargrass Creeks
North Canterbury North Branch Hurunui River (found 7km downstream from Lake Sumner in May 2007), Rakaia River, Waimakariri River
West Coast Karamea, Buller, Kakapotahi, Arahura and Haast Rivers
Central South Island

Ahuriri, Waitaki, Twizel, Ohau, Lindis, Tekapo, Waihao, North Opuha River and Tasman Rivers; Omarama Stream, Rangitata Diversion Race, lower Cass and Macaulay Rivers in the upper Tekapo catchment.

Otago Hawea, Upper Clutha, Clutha, Von, Frase, Matukituki, Kawarau, Kakanui, Motatapu and Lower Rangitata Rivers; Diamond Creek; Lake Wakatipu (at Glenorchy and Queenstown Bay), Lake Dunstan, Lake Wanaka
Southland Mararoa, Oreti, Upper and Lower Waiau, Upukerora, Wilkin, Makarora, Hollyford, Eglinton, Whitestone, Upukeroa, Mataura, Wairaurahiri, Greenstone and Aparima Rivers; Princhester Creek; Hamilton Burn, Ettrick Burn, Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri.
Controlled areas


The entire South Island has been declared a controlled area. Any items that have been in contact with water from South Island rivers, streams or waterways must be treated in the prescribed manner before being taken outside the South Island.

Fiordland National Park

Special conditions apply in the Fiordland National Park. From 1 November 2006 to 26 April 2007 any person wanting to fish on Fiordland rivers must obtain a special authorisation called “Fiordland Rivers Controlled Fishery Licence” from Fish and Game. This licence must be applied for at least five days prior to the trip. All gear is required to be cleaned  at an approved cleaning station within 48 hours of departure. A a map showing the controlled areas is available in a pdf document on the DOC website.

These fishing controls require you to hold:
1) a current full season Sports Fishing Licence,
2) a Fiordland Rivers Controlled Fishery Licence and;
3) a Clean Gear Certificate.

Te Waikoropupu Springs Closed

The waters of Te Waikoropupu Springs were closed to fishing and other contact recreation from January 2007 to prevent the introduction of the invasive alga Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) and other aquatic pests. The ban on contact applies to all waters within the Pupu Springs Scenic Reserve including the Main Springs, Dancing Sands Pool, Fish Creek and the Springs River.

MAF import controls

To slow the spread of the invasive alga didymo, in New Zealand waterways, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand requires all used freshwater fishing equipment brought into New Zealand to be clean and dry. Read more...

Ban on felt-soled boots

A ban on using felt-soled waders or footwear incorporating or having attached a sole of felted, matted or woven fibrous material, when sports fishing came into effect on 2 October 2008.

Replace your felt-soled boots

Banned felt-soled boots

Read an article about the science of felt soled boots to stop the spread of didymo.

For more information

What Anglers Can Do To Prevent Didymo outlines what anglers can and must do to ensure they don't spread didymo

In the News has summaries and links to recent new items relating to didymo spread and control.

Info from Biosecurity New Zealand

The Biosecurity New Zealand website has:



Didymosphenia geminata (didymo)

growth in the South Island


A DOC ranger tests for didymo
in the Taupo fishery



Scierra Dynatrack boots

Scierra Dynatrack boots


Light-weight Scierra Ipac wading boots


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