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Marine protection in New Zealand

The Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve near Auckland; today a popular spot for snorkelers and scuba-divers, due to the abundance and diversity of fish now living within the reserve after over 30 years of protection. Our marine environment has an extraordinarily rich and unique array of animals, plants and habitats, ranging from the subantarctic to the subtropical and extending from sea level to a depth of more than 10 kilometres. Scientists estimate that as much as 80 per cent of New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity may be found in the sea. Our isolation means many of these species are not found anywhere else in the world.

Today there are 44 marine reserves spread around the North, the South Island, and neighbouring islands, and on outlying island groups. The public is welcome and encouraged to enjoy marine reserves which are abundant with fish, coral, and bottom dwelling organisms. In all marine reserves you may dive, snorkel, take photos, swim, kayak, boat, and enjoy our natural heritage in the knowledge that it is protected for the benefit of future generations.

Fiordland Marine Guardians

The first two marine reserves in Fiordland were established at the request of New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen in 1993. In 1995 a group of concerned local Fiordland users and community representatives formed the Guardians of Fiordland’s Fisheries Inc, which later became the Guardians of Fiordland’s Fisheries and Marine environment Inc (the Guardians). An additional eight reserves were established in Fiordland on the recommendation of the Guardians of Fiordland in 2005. 

The enactment of the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Management Act 2005 gave formal recognition to the Fiordland Marine Guardians who are now appointed by the Minister for the Environment as an advisory body to advise management agencies on the management of the Fiordland Marine Area.

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