Akaroa Marine Reserve approved

Minister for Conservation Nick Smith has announced that the existing marine protection measures around Banks Peninsula will soon be augmented with a new 475ha Marine Reserve in Akaroa Harbour. The reserve will come into force on June 8th 2014 – World Oceans Day.

The reserve will be located along the south-eastern side of the harbour and include the dramatic Cathedral Cave as well as a stretch of the outer coast. It will protect a significant range of habitat frequently visited by dolphins, penguins and the tourists watching them from Akaroa’s many nature cruise boats!

The application to create a marine reserve in this area was lodged 17 years ago and has sparked controversy, debate and several rounds of consultation over the intervening years.

Fishing will be prohibited within the reserve, but to take account of customary and recreational fishers’ concerns the Minister has recommended that 55ha of the area applied for should be incorporated into the much larger Akaroa Harbour Taiapure occupying the remaining 90% of the harbour.  Fishing is permitted within the Taiapure subject to restrictions determined by a committee whose membership is drawn from local runanga and recreational fishers. The Taiapure also extends right around the outer coast as far as Pohatu/Flea Bay, which to date has been the only Marine Reserve on the east coast of the South Island.

Both of these Marine Reserves and the Taiapure are encompassed within the even larger Marine Mammal Sanctuary which extends out to 12 nautical miles around Banks Peninsula and provides measures to protect the Hector’s dolphin from accidental entanglement in monofilament nets.

This comprehensive basket of connected marine protection now provides a wealth of opportunity for comparative scientific study and puts Banks Peninsula at the forefront of innovative marine protection.

Map of Marine Protection around Akaroa Harbour

Boats on Akaroa Harbour

DOC boat with Minister Smith departing from Akaroa main wharf to see the new Marine Reserve area