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Establishing south-eastern South Island marine protected areas

UPDATE – 24 August 2020

Public consultation on proposals to establish a network of marine protected areas along the south-east of the South Island closed on 3 August 2020.

Fisheries New Zealand and the Department of Conservation thank everyone who participated in this consultation process and provided feedback.

You can find information about the process and what happens next, and view the consultation documents, on the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.

Consultation on south-eastern South Island marine protected areas – DOC

Consultation recommenced 3 June 2020

Public consultation on the proposed marine protected area (MPA) network was started on 17 February 2020, but was withdrawn on 9 April due to New Zealand’s alert level 4 COVID-19 response. Fisheries New Zealand is now starting a new round of consultation because COVID-19 restrictions have eased. If you made a submission in February, March, or April, you will be contacted and given the option of resubmitting, withdrawing, or updating that submission.

The proposed package of fishing method prohibitions and restrictions are unchanged from those initially consulted on in February–April 2020.

Media release: Marine protection consultation recommences – DOC

Have your say

Fisheries New Zealand and the Department of Conservation (DOC) invited public feedback on proposals to establish a network of marine reserves and protected areas along the south-east coast of the South Island.

The proposed network aims to protect a range of unique coastal and estuarine habitats, and feeding areas for marine mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates, which are currently under pressure from the effects of human activities including climate change.

The proposed network is made up of 6 marine reserves, 5 Type 2 marine protected areas (MPAs), and 1 kelp protection area, covering a total of 1,267 square kilometres from Timaru in South Canterbury to Waipapa Point in Southland.

The 6 proposed marine reserves were consulted on under the Marine Reserves Act, while the 5 proposed type 2 MPAs and the proposed kelp protection area were consulted on under the Fisheries Act.

Full details are in the consultation document.

Tell us what you think

We wanted to hear from iwi, hapū and whānau, the community, and stakeholders on how to progress the network of marine protected areas to best protect our environment and valuable marine biodiversity. We also wanted to understand what impacts any new MPAs might have on you.

We know the network proposed will have an impact on the people who rely on the sea for their livelihoods or enjoy fishing as part of their lifestyle. We want to better understand that impact and encourage those directly affected to have their say.

Consultation document and ways to make a submission

An external website was developed where you could:

  • find the consultation document with maps and information about the proposed marine reserves and marine protected areas
  • make an online submission.

Other and next steps

Fisheries New Zealand and DOC will continue to consult with our Treaty partner, Ngāi Tahu, about the proposed MPA network and their aspirations for co-managing marine protection in the region.

Fisheries New Zealand is also planning to undertake targeted consultation with affected commercial fishers.

The Minister of Conservation and the Minister of Fisheries will make decisions considering all available and relevant information, the submissions received, and the merits of the proposals.

Submissions are public information

Note, that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have good reasons for withholding them. That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it is commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

MPI may post all or parts of any written submission on its website. We'll consider that you have consented to its publication unless clearly stated otherwise in your submission.  

Background to this consultation

In May 2019, the ministers announced their intention to progress the network of marine reserves and marine protected areas. The network is based on Network 1 – one of 2 options put forward by the South-East Marine Protection Forum/Roopu Manaaki ki te Toka in 2018 for marine protection for the region.

Find out more

South eastern South Island marine protection – DOC