Environment Minister and Nelson MP Nick Smith has welcomed a proposal to change the limits on the legal size of blue cod caught in the Marlborough Sounds.
Under current rules, only blue cod between 30 and 35 centimetres long can be kept.
But speaking in his capacity as Nelson MP at public meetings in Blenheim and Nelson last night, Dr Smith suggested changing the lower limit from 30 to 33 centimetres, and abolishing the upper limit.
Dr Smith said the meeting was a good step towards change.
"The general view was that it is a big step forward. There is still going to be some argument about the detail, some people are arguing that the size should be even greater at 35 centimetres.
"We will wait until we hear the public response to these proposals before making a decision later in the year."
A spokesperson for the Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association said the Government's proposal was the result of seven years of lobbying.
Tony Orman said the association had been to Wellington three times to see different Ministers of Fisheries about the rule.
He said the proposed change was a welcome relief for recreational fishers.
"At last it seems that we are heading to a bit of common sense and getting rid of the 'slot rule'.
"Fish have been needlessly wasted because anglers have had to put back fish that are under 30 centimetres or over 35 centimetres - and this has caused the unnecessary death of a lot of fish".
Mr Orman said the Government's plans looked like they will also scrap the transit rule, which prevented blue cod fished from outside Marlborough Sounds being brought in.
He said if the rule was binned, fish caught in Cook Strait could be taken back to Marlborough.
The current catch limit per person is two fish.
Public submissions close at the end of the month, and the Government plans to implement the new rules by December when the fishing season starts.