Marine and Coastal: Conservation

As a thin sliver of land surrounded by a mass of ocean, New Zealand has waters that are home to a wide range of marine species, from elephant seals in the south of our territorial area to tropical turtles in our sub-tropical north.

Land and Sea BioBlitz

In 2011, we unleashed scientists, families and children onto the area around Mana (Wellington) in search of  new creatures & plants. In total we uncovered 1291 species - five of which were new to science! To find out more see here. 

Eighty percent of the Earth’s biodiversity lives in the oceans, and undiscovered marine creatures are found every week.

Though it is hidden below the ocean, the sea bed has the same dramatic, sweeping landscapes that we see on land: volcanoes, trenches, plains, valleys and “forests”.

Life on this planet began in the sea, so many ocean creatures pre-date dinosaurs.

As guardians of a sea area that is 15 times New Zealand’s land mass it is crucial that we build our understanding of our wonderful and ancient sea life so we can better protect it - many of the species and habitats found in our waters are under threat.

Forest & Bird is committed to improving protection of these species, in the same way that we protect native wildlife and environments on land.

Yellow Eyed & Little Blue Penguins

Forest & Bird’s Places for Penguins project helps restore habitat for little blue penguins in Wellington and its Te Rere Reserve in Southland is a haven for yellow-eyed penguins. More

Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins

Forest & Bird has achieved greater protection for Hector's and Maui's dolphins from threats such as set nets and is calling for a marine mammal sanctuary to further protect the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin. More

Best Fish Guide

This wallet guide helps consumers make the best decisions about the fish they buy. The guide ranks each of the species from “best choice” to “worst choice” by assessing a number of factors contributing to the sustainability of each fishery. More

Sea Lions

New Zealand sea lions were once found right around our coast, but now inhabit just a few areas in Otago and the Auckland Islands. Forest & Bird is calling for better fishing regulation to reduce their deaths as by-catch in squid fishing nets. More


Known as the albatross capital of the world, New Zealand is a breeding ground for more than half of the world’s 22 albatross species. Forest & Bird has worked in New Zealand
and internationally to improve the use of techniques that reduce deaths of albatrosses and other seabirds as by-catch in fisheries. More


Pre-dating dinosaurs, sharks have swum through our waters for more than 400 million years. Now they are under threat from a unprecendented demand for shark fins. Finning is illegal in many countries but is still permitted in New Zealand. Forest & Bird wants our law changed to stop this wasteful practice. More

We love marine reserves

A third of NZ's land mass is now protected in national parks, yet only a tiny fraction of our marine environment has similar protection. Our marine reserves cover just 0.3 % of our marine environment  More

Vehicles off beaches

Nests of threatened birds - such as the NZ dotteral & fairy tern - are often destroyed by the 4WDs that cruise our beaches. We're working to protect them and the dune formations, vegetation and wildlife values of our beaches.