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What does Fish Forever do?

We promote and support marine protection initiatives within, near and beyond New Zealand's Bay of Islands.
We meet the last Thursday of every month in Paihia and welcome new members.
Please get in touch | 027 243-1777

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put the big ones backno fishingdolphins in distressvol fishing accordsedimentationREPORT MARINE PESTS

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Bay of Islands Marine Ecology & Geology

Reviewing recent (mainly post-1950) changes in nature and extent of shallow-water, soft-seafloor biological communities of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands: causes, consequences and persisting threats

A review by Fish Forever's John Booth, this was originally submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries for publication in their New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report series.


Understandings of the shallow, soft-bottom ecosystems of the Bay of Islands and changes over time therein - including the mangrove forests.

New topics for the Bay of Islands that people might find of interest include the natural oyster reefs of Kerikeri Inlet, the Vaucheria (yellow-green algae) meadows of the eastern Bay of Islands; and the spectacular soft-bottom biomes of Ipipiri Platform in the eastern Bay.

Download the full report here

john (1 of 1)John was a shellfish research scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, with interest in recruitment processes in spiny lobsters. He has been published widely in local and international science journals, and contributed to several books, on spiny lobsters and other invertebrates. He was a member of the Subantarctic Marine Protection Planning Forum which led to the establishment of MPAs around Campbell, Bounty and Antipodes Islands.

Characterising fisheries and other marine harvesting in the Bay of Islands, with ecological consequences, from first human settlement to the present

jdboothRecent publication highlights perilous ecological state of the marine waters of the Bay of Islands

A report written by Fish Forever’s John Booth and recently published by the Ministry of Primary Industries underscores the appalling state of the shallow-reef kelp forests of the Bay of Islands.

Much of the shallow-reef kelp (down to about 5 m) of the main basin of the Bay has been overgrazed and is now kina barren.

‘Losses were apparent by the 1970s, and today Bay of Islands presents one of the most extreme and extensive areas of ‘sea-urchin barren’ in all the country. The loss of significant areas of shallow-reef kelp is likely to have led to a multitude of cascading consequences, most of them not yet recognised or understood.’

‘In northeast New Zealand, (mainly) commercial fishing had, by the mid-1980s, reduced the biomass of snapper (and probably other predatory finfish species), and rock lobsters, to less than one quarter of their unfished state. Consequently, freed from the pressure of their main predators, sea-urchin grazing burgeoned, resulting in loss of much of the shallow-reef kelp in places like the Bay of Islands. Ongoing intense recreational fishing pressure, together with the commercial effort, within and near the Bay of Islands means little or no recovery of the kelp is likely in the near future.’

Although a particular focus of this report is the state of the shallow-reef kelp of the Bay of Islands, harvest trajectories for fish and shellfish, and the loss of seabirds and marine mammals, from the time of first settlement around 1300 AD to the present, are also described. There were many early extinctions; various marine mammals and seabirds remain to this day on the cusp of extinction.

Download the full report here


Subtidal soft-bottom biodiversity of the Bay of Islands and its vulnerability to the physical impacts of fishing


A report written by John Booth

Subtidal soft-bottom biodiversity of the Bay of Islands is appraised, with focus on areas/communities prone to physical damage from fishing. Some of these seafloor communities are of national (even international) significance, most risks from fishing deriving from commercial bottom trawling in waters >50 m depth and recreational scallop dredging in waters <20 m.

Download the full report here

Reviewing the far-reaching ecological impacts of human-induced terrigenous sedimentation on shallow marine ecosystems in a northern-New Zealand embayment

jdboothA report written by Fish Forever’s John Booth and recently published by the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research

Human settlement in Bay of Islands, New Zealand, beginning ∼1300 AD, wrought immense, conspicuous and enduring change to local shallow-water marine ecologies, this review addressing those transformations attributable to increased rates of anthropogenically induced, land-derived sedimentation...

Download the full report here


Marvellous Maunganui Bay

marvelous maunganui

Fish Forever

by John Booth, Chris Richmond, Robert Willoughby


Black Rocks and Te Pahi coast reefs

black rocks

Black Rocks and the Te Pahi Islands coast reefs, Bay of Islands: Significant Ecological Marine Area Assessment Sheet. By Northland Regional Council, 2017


Urchin barren & algal zonation

urchin barren

Fish Forever

Urchin barrens and algal community zonation; a transect based study, Maunganui Bay and Cape Brett. By Vince Kerr


Maunganui Habitat Report

canterburyMarine habitats of the proposed Maunganui Marine Reserve, Cape Brett Peninsula by Vince Kerr


Waewaetorea Habitat Report


Marine habitats of the proposed Waewaetorea Marine Reserve. By Vince Kerr and Roger Grace, 2015


Geology & physical oceanography


Application of Geology and Physical Oceanography to Marine Reserve Determination, Ipipiri, Eastern Bay of Islands. By Jeremy Gibb, 2012


7 Centuries Harvesting of BOI Fish & Shellfish


Ecological Upshot of Seven Centuries’ Harvesting of Bay of Islands’ Fish and Shellfish. By John Booth, 2015


Wrecked Reefs - shallow-reef kelp loss

wrecked reefs

Wrecked Reefs: just where does the buck stop for shallow-reef kelp loss in the Bay of Islands? By John Booth, 2016


Flagging kelp a potent symbol of loss

flagging kelp

Flagging kelp: potent symbol of loss of mauri in the Bay of Islands. By John Booth, 2015


Transformed shores: those mangroves!

mangroves lost

Transformed shores: those mangroves! By John Booth, 2014



Bay of Islands Seagrass: our last goodbye?


Seagrass in the Bay of Islands: our last goodbye? By John Booth, 2013






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nudi spongeAll of us with an interest and love of Tangaroa, let's work together and take on the challenge of marine protection for the Bay.

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Family - $35.00

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