Caulerpa - Bay of Islands areas closed to anchoring and fishing

Te Rāwhiti Inlet Controlled Area Notice (CAN) and rāhui

It is illegal to fish or anchor a vessel in a defined area (refer to the map) of Te Rāwhiti Inlet.

The area under controls is bounded by Whau Point, the south-eastern tip of Te Ao Island, the eastern shoreline of Poroporo Island and the northern tip of Tokatokahau Point up to the high-tide area.

Under the CAN, it is illegal to remove any marine life (including fish, shellfish, koura (crayfish) or seaweed from the zone. This means any form of fishing is banned. This includes spearfishing, crayfishing, kina and other shellfish gathering, net fishing and drift fishing from any kind of vessel.

New marine protected areas - Bay of Islands and Mimiwhangata

New rules are now in place for marine protection areas in the Bay of Islands and Mimiwhangata.

Please refer to the map below for details:

  • The purple area Maunganui Bay to Opourua (Oke Bay) is a rāhui tapu no fishing area.
  • The orange area Mimiwhangata is a rāhui tapu no fishing area.
  • The light blue area relates only to commercial fishing - bulk harvesting of fish using specific seining and trawling methods is prohibited to a depth of 100 metres (Ngā Au o Morunga Mai Rakaumangamanga Protection Area).
  • These rules do not affect kina harvest daily bag limits or Non-commercial Māori customary fishing rights guaranteed under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, but a permit is required.

Download a high-res map of the boundaries here

Kūtai - Mussel bed closure Te Puna Mataitai

Fisheries New Zealand Maori Crest White textThe Minister of Fisheries has approved a bylaw that prohibits the take or possession of three types of mussel: green lipped, black, and blue mussels from within the Te Puna Mātaitai area - effective 23rd March 2020 for three years.

This decision follows consultation after tangata tiaki/kaitiaki saw a decline in mussel populations in the last few years. This new bylaw aims to help restore the mussel beds and ensure the sustainability of the sacred kūtai population.

Download the Te Puna mātaitai boundaries here

Download the gazetted bylaw here

Commercial fishing regulations in the Bay of Islands

teamworkPhoto: Dean Wright

For many years there has been a variety of restrictions on commercial fishing in the Bay of Islands. The maps below indicate the main areas and seasons closed to commercial fishing.

All boundaries drawn are indicative only - please refer government legislation for exact details.[/badge]
To find legislation governing commercial fishing visit:

Download DoC's area based restrictions brochure here (see pgs 38-43)

Te Puna mātaitai

te puna mataitai 2Ngā Hapū o Taiamai ki Te Marangai have established the 20 sq km Te Puna mātaitai within their rohe moana area in the western Bay of Islands (area chart below).

  • Tangata whenua are authorised by the Minister of Fisheries under s.23 of the Kaimoana Customary Fishing Regulations 1998 to manage and control the non-commercial harvest of seafood through a local committee.
  • Mātaitai reserves are permanent, though the bylaws can change over time.
  • No commercial fishing is allowed within the area (unless recommended by the committee)
  • The kaitiaki can set bylaws to manage the fishing in the area.
  • Both Maori and non-Maori may fish in mātaitai reserves.

Download the Te Puna mātaitai boundaries boundaries here 

Mātaitai reserves are created in areas of traditional importance to Maori for customary food gathering.

Bay of Islands Marine Mammal Sanctuary

Bottlenose dolphin feedingPhoto: Cat Peters

New rules effective 15th December 2021

The sanctuary has three key restrictions for users of the Bay of Islands:

  • No one is allowed in the water within 300 m of a marine mammal.
  • No vessel to approach within 300 m of marine mammals – if your vessel breaches the 300 m rule for a marine mammal you must stop. You must remain stopped until any marine mammals are at least 300 m away.
  • You must travel 5 knots or less at all times while within the marine mammal safe zones.

Boaties, check you know the Bay of Islands discharge rules!

marine toiletIn our harbours, untreated sewage can contaminate the shellfish we eat or make water unsafe for swimming for a long time after it's discharged.

Dispose of your boat sewage properly. No discharging untreated sewage in the dark blue areas highlighted on the map below!

  • Within all Northland harbours and the Bay of Islands
  • Less than 500 m from the high-tide mark
  • Less than 500 m from a marine farm
  • Less than 200 m from a marine reserve

Alternatively, pump it out at a marina pumping facility.

Join Fish Forever

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.

Annual Membership Rates:
Student/concession - $15.00
Affiliate (please name organistation) - $15.00
Individual - $25.00
Family - $35.00

 Join us here

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