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Did you know?

  • New Zealand administers the sixth largest marine environment in the world. We value our marine area for its cultural and spiritual significance and use it for transportation, fisheries, recreation, and tourism.
  • Fishing is the most widespread human activity in the marine environment. Fishing activity under the Quota Management System has reduced in recent years, as has the area trawled by large commercial vessels.
  • The level of sustainable fishing has been assessed for two thirds of the total allowable catch. Of this proportion, 15 per cent of fish stocks have been overfished but have a recovery plan in place.
  • Internationally, New Zealand has a high proportion of marine area legally protected (7 per cent of New Zealand’s territorial sea), although most of this protection is found in two offshore island reserves and some key habitats remain unprotected.
  • Water quality at our beaches appears to have improved over recent years.

For more information about oceans see Environment New Zealand 2007 at

What can you do?

  • Poaching is theft. Stop people stealing our natural resources – call 0800 4 poacher if you see someone taking over the daily limit or undersized fish, or anything you think is suspicious.
  • Remember to properly discard any unwanted fishing gear – anywhere from 700,000 to 1 million seabirds are killed each year as they get tangled up in or swallow abandoned fishing gear.
  • Rubbish can be harmful to wildlife – 90 per cent of marine rubbish found on coasts is beverage packaging.
  • ‘Adopt-a-beach’ and take responsibility for keeping it clean by collecting rubbish regularly.
  • Even people who don't live near the sea can do their bit – avoid pouring waste liquids into outside drains or putting rubbish into the gutter as this can end up in the sea.