The marine pest management system

MPI has a responsibility to provide leadership of the marine pest management system. Learn more about how we are working with local government and others to slow the spread and impact of harmful pests and diseases around New Zealand's coastline.

Protecting the marine environment

The marine environment is one of our most valuable resources. We work with several agencies and industries to ensure its protection.

This work involves:

  • protecting our marine environment from established marine pests
  • preparing for pests that have not yet arrived
  • stopping the spread of established pests
  • building our ability to manage marine pests
  • putting partnerships in place with other agencies to increase capability and resilience

We try to stop the spread and establishment of pests by encouraging New Zealanders to clean their marine equipment and vessels. We also work to prevent organisms entering our waters from overseas through managing the ballast water and biofouling on arriving vessels.


Our marine surveillance team has surveyed all of New Zealand's main ports and marinas as well as pristine locations like Fiordland to find out what marine pests are already there. This baseline surveillance makes it easier to identify new pests should they arrive.

This team inspects high-risk locations twice a year. These are areas where the chances of pests or diseases arriving are much higher than other parts of the country.


Our response team works to either eradicate detected pests or recommend long-term management measures. Examples of high profile marine responses include:

Our marine biosecurity partnerships

By working with other organisations, we can increase our ability to effectively keep damaging pests and diseases out of our important marine areas. Many organisations, government and non-government alike, have a shared interest in protecting New Zealand's marine environment.

Top of the north

The Top of the North Marine Biosecurity Partnership: Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty, Northland and Waikato Regional Councils and the Ministry for Primary Industries are working together to stop the spread of invasive marine pests in northern New Zealand.

Top of the south

The Top of the South Marine Biosecurity Partnership was formed in 2009 to improve marine biosecurity management in the top of the South Island – the coastal areas administered by the Nelson City Council and Marlborough and Tasman District Councils.

Fiordland Marine Biosecurity

In 2006, we partnered with the Department of Conservation (DOC), Ministry for the Environment (MfE), Environment Southland, and the Fiordland Marine Guardians to provide marine biosecurity protection for Fiordland.

Related information

Who to contact

If you have questions about marine biosecurity, email

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