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Enabling the removal of sea urchins for the management or prevention of urchin barrens

Update – 1 May 2024

Consultation extended

Submissions will now be accepted until 5pm on 20 May 2024.

Have your say

Fisheries New Zealand is seeking your views on a proposal to introduce a new special permit purpose under section 97 of the Fisheries Act 1996. The special permit purpose would enable the removal of sea urchins for the management or prevention of urchin barrens (areas of the seafloor overgrazed by urchins).

The consultation opened on 26 March and closes at 5pm on 20 May 2024.

A summary of the proposal is on this page and full details are in the consultation document.

What is being proposed?

Urchin barrens are areas on the seabed where sea urchins have multiplied in large numbers and consumed all the vegetation. This leads to a barren seafloor with a loss of habitat and biodiversity, impacting the overall health of coastal environments. Urchin barrens are prevalent in north-eastern New Zealand and pose significant ecological risks as they expand, leading to the degradation of marine ecosystems.

Fisheries New Zealand is adopting an integrated management approach to try to stop the spread of these barren areas, recognising the urgent need for comprehensive action. This approach encompasses a suite of management initiatives aimed at restoring kelp forests and mitigating the adverse effects of urchin barrens. Introducing a new special permit purpose that focuses on restoration and prevention efforts to combat urchin barrens is one of many tools in Fisheries New Zealand's broader management efforts.

Under the special permit framework set out in section 97 of the Fisheries Act, special permits can be issued for a range of purposes. The Minister of Oceans and Fisheries may also approve a new special permit purpose, following consultation.

Fisheries New Zealand is proposing the minister approve a new special permit purpose specifically to assist in managing and preventing urchin barren areas.

The proposed purpose is "to allow persons or organisations to harvest, cull, or translocate sea urchins for the purpose of habitat restoration and/or prevention of urchin barrens."

Fisheries New Zealand would like to know your views and whether you support the introduction of this new special permit purpose.

Consultation document

Enabling the removal of sea urchins for the management or prevention of urchin barrens [PDF, 494 KB]

Related consultation

Review of the recreational daily kina limit in fishery management area 1

Related information

Section 97 of the Fisheries Act 1996 – NZ Legislation

Making your submission

Fisheries New Zealand invites your feedback on the proposed new special permit purpose by 5pm on 20 May 2024.

A template is available to help you complete your submission.

Submission form template [DOCX, 74 KB]

Email your completed template and submission to

While we prefer email, you can post written submissions to:

Fisheries Management
Fisheries New Zealand - MPI
17 Maurice Wilson Avenue
PO Box 53030
Auckland Airport 2022
New Zealand.

Following this consultation, we'll give the minister advice and submissions from the public to support final decisions on this consultation.

What to include

Make sure your submission tells us:

  • the title of the consultation document
  • your title and full name
  • your organisation’s name (if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation, and whether your submission represents the whole organisation or a section of it)
  • your contact details (such as a phone number and email address).

Submissions are public information

Note that all, part, or a summary of your submission may be published on this website. Most often this happens when we issue a document that reviews the submissions received.

People can also ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the content of submissions available unless we have good reason for withholding it. Those reasons are detailed in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

If you think there are grounds to withhold specific information from publication, make this clear in your submission or contact us. Reasons may include that it discloses commercially sensitive or personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold details can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may direct us to release it.

Official Information Act 1982 – NZ Legislation