Nature and conservation
The Fiordland marine reserves include a huge variety of habitats and species like sponges, lampshells, and a wide range of fish.
These reserves also contain some of the world's biggest populations of black coral trees, some of which are over 300 years old. These trees provide a home to brittlestars, a species that can only live entwined in the branches of these underwater trees.
History and culture
Two reserves, Te Awaatu Channel (The Gut, Doubtful Sound) and Piopiotahi (Milford Sound), were formally established in 1993. The other eight reserves were established in 2005.
Fiordland's marine reserves are found from Milford Sound in the north to Preservation Inlet on the southwest of the South Island.
Piopiotahi/ Milford Sound is accessible from Te Anau via the Milford Road.
Know before you go
Rules and regulations
DOC is responsible for managing marine reserves.
Similar sorts of rules apply in marine reserves as in national parks on land. Some activities are restricted or prohibited to protect the marine life in the area.
Enjoy your visit to the marine reserve, but please note the following rules:
- All marine life is totally protected
- No fishing, netting, taking, or killing of marine life
- No polluting, disturbance or damage
- No removal of any natural thing from the marine reserve
Find out more about Fiordland marine biosecurity.
Recreational, educational and scientific activities
Recreational, educational and scientific activities are encouraged as long as they do not disturb or endanger the plant and animal life or natural features. A permit is required from DOC for any scientific research within the reserve.
Commercial rock lobster pot storage
Because of limited suitable space for storing rock lobster pots in Fiordland, five areas within four marine reserves are designated for commercial rock lobster fishers to store live lobster caught outside the reserve in holding pots and to store inoperable rock lobster pots (with doors open). These five areas are shown on the maps for the following marine reserves:
- Hawea (Clio Rock)
- Kahukura (Gold Arm)
- Taumoana (Five Fingers Peninsula)
- Te Tapuwae o Hua (Long Sound)
They are not open for use by recreational fishers.
Right of passage
Right of passage through the marine reserve is not affected by the reserve status of the area.