Skip to main content

Marine Protected Areas Proposed by Fishing Regulations Under the Fisheries Act 1996

New marine protected areas established

On 16 June 2015, the Government announced three new marine protected areas (MPAs) for the West Coast. The new MPAs complement the five marine reserves that were established on the West Coast in 2014, and add 9557 hectares to New Zealand’s protected area network, which aims to protect our marine biodiversity.

The announcement marked the culmination of the work of the West Coast Marine Protection Forum. The Forum was made up of representatives of tangata whenua and a range of groups with an interest in the West Coast marine environment, including commercial and recreational fishers, environmental groups and local government.

The MPAs were established on 9 July 2015 through amendments to the Fisheries (Challenger Area Commercial Fishing) Regulations 1986, prohibiting the use of Danish seining, bottom trawling and dredging commercial fishing methods in the areas which border the Hautai and Punakaiki Marine Reserves.

Download the:

Marine Protected Areas Proposed by Fishing Regulations Under the Fisheries Act 1996

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for administering the Fisheries Act 1996 and regulations made under that Act. MPI is seeking public comment on three proposed marine protected areas (MPAs); two at the Punakaiki location and one at the Gorge location, West Coast, South Island. The proposed MPAs would prohibit commercial bottom impacting fishing methods, specifically bottom trawling, Danish seining and dredging, by fishing regulations under the Fisheries Act 1996. These proposed MPAs would not affect whitebaiting, recreational line fishing, eeling and shellfish gathering.

The proposed Punakaiki MPAs include two coastal areas (totalling 326 ha) that adjoin and are completely enclosed by the proposed Punakaiki Marine Reserve. These two areas are located north and south of Dolomite Point, extend up to 0.43 nautical miles (800 metres) offshore and include the estuaries in the lower reaches of the Pororari and Punakaiki Rivers.

The proposed Gorge MPA (9231 ha) extends from the vicinity of the Gorge River mouth southwards to Awarua Point. At its southern point it extends approximately 2.16 nautical miles (4,000 metres) offshore from MHWS and its northernmost point extends approximately 5.29 nautical miles (9,800 metres) offshore. This area adjoins and completely encloses the proposed Gorge Marine Reserve.

Submissions in response to the proposed Punakaiki and Gorge MPAs under Fisheries Act regulations should be sent by 22 August 2012 to:

Spatial Allocations Team 
Ministry for Primary Industries 
PO Box 2526,

or email:  

PLEASE NOTE: The Department of Conservation (DoC) is running a separate consultation process on an application to declare 5 areas on the West Coast of the South Island as marine reserves under the Marine Reserves Act. Two of these proposed marine reserves adjoin the proposed Punakaiki and Gorge MPAs. Any submissions regarding the proposed marine reserves should be directed to the DoC West Coast Tai Poutini Conservancy office. 

Download DoC and MPI Marine Reserves Notice [PDF, 496 KB]