Nature and conservation
The Fiordland marine reserves include a huge variety of habitats and species like sponges, lampshells, and a wide range of fish.
These reserves also contain some of the world's biggest populations of black coral trees, some of which are over 300 years old. These trees provide a home to brittlestars, a species that can only live entwined in the branches of these underwater trees.
Fiordland marine biosecurity.
History and culture
Two reserves, Te Awaatu Channel (The Gut, Doubtful Sound) and Piopiotahi (Milford Sound), were formally established in 1993. The other eight reserves were established in 2005.
Fiordland's marine reserves are found from Milford Sound in the north to Preservation Inlet on the southwest of the South Island.
Piopiotahi/ Milford Sound is accessible from Te Anau via the Milford Road.
Know before you go
Removing marine life
Members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui may access the reserve to remove pounamu provided they have any required resource consents and/or authorisation by the kaitiaki rūnaka. Pounamu must be collected by hand, with minimal disturbance to the site and only so much as you may carry in one trip.
Members of Ngāi Tahu Whānu are also permitted to remove deceased marine mammals and collect teeth and bones found within the reserves.
Take-off and landing of aircraft is permitted within the reserve.
There are specific no-anchoring areas in some of Fiordland’s marine reserves. These areas are home to particularly fragile species that could be damaged by an anchor or its swinging chain. Information about the no-anchoring areas in each of the fiords can be found in the Fiordland user’s guide (PDF, 4, 440K).
Recreational, educational and scientific activities
Recreational, educational and scientific activities are encouraged as long as they do not disturb or endanger the plant and animal life or natural features. A permit is required from DOC for any scientific research within the reserve.
Commercial rock lobster pot storage
Because of limited suitable space for storing rock lobster pots in Fiordland, five areas within four marine reserves are designated for commercial rock lobster fishers to store live lobster caught outside the reserve in holding pots and to store inoperable rock lobster pots (with doors open). These five areas are shown on the maps for the following marine reserves:
- Hawea (Clio Rock)
- Kahukura (Gold Arm)
- Taumoana (Five Fingers Peninsula)
- Te Tapuwae o Hua (Long Sound)
They are not open for use by recreational fishers.
Right of passage
Right of passage through the marine reserve is not affected by the reserve status of the area.
Fiordland Marine (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Reserves (PDF, 2,000K)