His comments come as an influential lobby group says the Government would risk a backlash similar to the furore over snapper bag limit restrictions if it went ahead with reporting requirements.

Environment Minister Nick Smith confirmed today that fishers could be asked to report their catch within proposed recreational fishing parks in the inner Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds.

Dr Smith said the Government was “open-minded” about the issue, which could include fishers using smartphone apps to feed information about their catch to the Ministry for Fisheries. Any requirement would be limited to the two fishing parks, he said.

We already have a nation full of selfie-taking show offs. The most effective way to gain compliance for what would be a voluntary system would be to turn it into an ongoing competition. Text a pic of you and your catch to John Key #LookwhatIcaught. Every month one lucky participant goes into the draw to win $500. You know it would work. Make it fun and people will do it. Make it a voluntary law and no one will do it.

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…Mr Key downplayed the likelihood of a strict reporting regime.

He noted that recreational fishers’ total take was increasing but reporting every fish caught would be logistically difficult, he said.

“I don’t think at this point there’s a plan to say ‘tell us exactly how many snapper you’ve caught on a particular day when you’re fishing’.”

A voluntary reporting system, however, could work “in theory”.

Meddling with recreational fishing is a hugely sensitive area for the Government. The ministry was forced to back down on proposed changes to snapper bag limits in 2013 after a huge public backlash, which led Mr Key to say that New Zealanders cared more about snapper than controversial spying changes, which were being considered at the time.

-A newspaper