Definition: Marine Protected Area

The Government's marine protected area (MPA) policy is to implement a comprehensive and representative network of protected areas for our marine life to replenish itself and thrive.

(A PDF file) Forest & Bird's Marine Protected Areas: A Comparison of approaches Report (2013)

In 2008 the government defined MPAs in its publication ‘Marine Protected Areas - Classification, Protection standard and Implementation guidelines’ as 

Type I : Marine Reserves

A marine reserve is an area of ocean and shore that is protected under the Marine Reserves Act.

Marine reserves allow the recovery of marine life to a natural state and provide areas for scientific study. Inside a marine reserve people cannot fish, take marine life or damage the marine environment – but they can continue to use and enjoy the marine environment through activities that do not harm it such as boating, swimming, kayaking, diving, snorkelling, walking on the beach and exploring rock pools.

Under the government’s MPA policy marine reserves are to be established to protect at least one sample of each habitat and ecosystem type in the network.

Type II : Other Marine Protected Areas

Type II Marine Protected Areas have a broad definition that means the area is protected, using some or all of the tools below –

Fishing prohibitions – typically these are used for the purposes of sustaining and managing fish stocks. These include prohibitions on certain types of fishing including -

  • Dredging, bottom trawling, Danish seining
  • Bottom gillnetting and potting when used on sensitive biogenic habitats
  • Purse seining, midwater trawling, midwater gillnetting and bottom gillnetting.

These tools and others (such as marine mammal sanctuaries) may be established using a variety of legislative acts, such as -

- The Resource Management Act
- Crown Minerals Act,
- Maritime Transport Act
- Biosecurity Act
- Marine Mammal Protection Act