Recreational fishers say changes to the snapper quota will take food off the plates of New Zealanders.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced the daily snapper limit will be reduced from nine to seven per fisher from April.
The size of acceptable fish would also increase by 3 cms to 30 cms.
Sport Fishing Council spokesperson Scott Macindoe says the decision is a cruel and cynical one.
"Sixty-six per cent of Maori surveyed say that they depend on fishing to feed the whanau. Forty per cent of the people who fish are fishing off the rocks and are not out there where the larger fish are roaming."
Mr Macindoe says the decision does nothing to address the bulk harvesting methods of commercial fishers.
He says there have already been court judgements against the Government relating to fishing quota.
Fishing group considers legal action over snapper
A recreational fishing lobby group, meanwhile, says it may take legal action over the changes to snapper fishing rules.
Spokesperson for LegaSea Mandy Kupenga says the group will look through the details of the decision and decide whether to take court action.
"We need to look through the details of this decision which will be released in the final advice paper.
"So once we have a look through that in a bit more detail, as what this means, we can assess whether or not legal action would be a course we could take."
The changes come into force next April.
Iwi to fish on regardless
The Ngati Kahu iwi in Northland says it will ignore Government cuts to snapper bag limits and will continue to fish snapper the way it always has.
Chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu Dr Margaret Mutu says the Government's approach has been draconian, and commercial fishing should have been targetted.
She says the iwi refuses to abide by the new rules as it has been fishing in its territory for 2,000 years and no one is going to tell it what to do.