DOC and NIWA release fish passage guidelines

Date:  18 April 2018

"The New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines sets out recommended practice for the design of instream infrastructure to provide for fish passage. The intent of these guidelines, developed by NIWA and DOC in partnership with the New Zealand Fish Passage Advisory Group, is to set the foundation for improved fish passage management in New Zealand.

These guidelines have been developed to assist infrastructure designers and managers, waterway managers, environmental officers, iwi and local communities with understanding and promoting better management of fish passage requirements in New Zealand. The guidelines set out best-practice approaches and minimum design standards for providing fish passage at instream structures based on current knowledge. The general principles of good fish passage design set out in these guidelines should provide a basis for developing suitable infrastructure designs in most situations regularly encountered in New Zealand.

The guidelines are based on the principle that good fish passage design achieves the following general objectives:

  • Efficient and safe upstream and downstream passage of all aquatic organisms and life stages resident in a waterway with minimal delay or injury.
  • A diversity of physical and hydraulic conditions are provided leading to a high diversity of passage opportunities.
  • The structure provides no greater impediment to fish movements than adjacent stream reaches.
  • Continuity of geomorphic processes such as the movement of sediment and debris.
  • Structures have minimal maintenance requirements and are durable.

Download the New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines here

For further resources on fish passage management in New Zealand please visit the DOC fish passage webpages (