Marine protected areas

The New Zealand Government is protecting marine environments within New Zealand’s territorial sea through various legislative means including Marine Protected Areas (MPA). This is to ensure the most effective approach for sustainable management of New Zealand's marine environment and enhancing, protecting and restoring marine biodiversity.

As an international treaty partner in Antarctica, New Zealand has also played a significant role in the recent establishment of a Ross Sea Region MPA.

Latest news

Long-term protection of Otago’s coastal habitats took a step closer to reality after more than 100 marine Significant Ecological Areas (SEA) were identified as part of a research project led by NIWA.
Researchers have developed New Zealand’s most comprehensive online atlas, providing an overview of nearly 600 marine species, to guide management and conservation of the country’s unique seafloor communities.
Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have returned from a six-week voyage to Antarctica.
NIWA scientists are doing what no others have done before. In a mysterious world just below the Antarctic ice, a delicate web of ice crystals forms a habitat that’s unique and largely unknown. Until now…

Latest videos

Antarctic science onboard NIWA’s RV Tangaroa

Researchers are working their way through a wealth of new Antarctic marine data after RV Tangaroa successfully completed its five week scientific voyage to the Ross Sea. Voyage leader and principal fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll outlines the team’s busy research schedule examining biodiversity and ocean dynamics in the world’s largest marine protected area.

Check out more stories from the 2021 Antarctic voyage

Eavesdropping on sperm whales in Antarctica

Whale researchers such as NIWA Marine Mammal Acoustician Dr Giacomo Giorli are eagerly awaiting the return of RV Tangaroa after its five-week Antarctic voyage.

The moorings team is bringing back precious data from long-term underwater listening devices which the researchers are using to search for signs that sperm whales are finally returning in numbers to the Ross Sea.

Sperm whales were targeted by the whaling industry in the 19th and 20th centuries and more than 70 per cent of their population wiped out. Scientists are now trying to establish if the sperm whale population is making a comeback.
Antarctic science onboard NIWA’s RV Tangaroa

Researchers are working their way through a wealth of new Antarctic marine data after RV Tangaroa successfully completed its five week scientific voyage to the Ross Sea. Voyage leader and principal fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll outlines the team’s busy research schedule examining biodiversity and ocean dynamics in the world’s largest marine protected area.

Check out more stories from the 2021 Antarctic voyage

Long-term protection of Otago’s coastal habitats took a step closer to reality after more than 100 marine Significant Ecological Areas (SEA) were identified as part of a research project led by NIWA.
Researchers have developed New Zealand’s most comprehensive online atlas, providing an overview of nearly 600 marine species, to guide management and conservation of the country’s unique seafloor communities.
Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have returned from a six-week voyage to Antarctica.
NIWA scientists are doing what no others have done before. In a mysterious world just below the Antarctic ice, a delicate web of ice crystals forms a habitat that’s unique and largely unknown. Until now…
A joint NIWA and Department of Conservation (DOC) project is extending New Zealand’s ocean acidification monitoring network to include marine reserves.
Eavesdropping on sperm whales in Antarctica

Whale researchers such as NIWA Marine Mammal Acoustician Dr Giacomo Giorli are eagerly awaiting the return of RV Tangaroa after its five-week Antarctic voyage.

The moorings team is bringing back precious data from long-term underwater listening devices which the researchers are using to search for signs that sperm whales are finally returning in numbers to the Ross Sea.

Sperm whales were targeted by the whaling industry in the 19th and 20th centuries and more than 70 per cent of their population wiped out. Scientists are now trying to establish if the sperm whale population is making a comeback.
NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa leaves soon on a six-week voyage to Antarctica, making it one of the few full scientific expeditions to the continent since the global outbreak of COVID-19.
After travelling almost 12,000km in the past six weeks, a group of scientists returns to Wellington at the weekend with new knowledge about life in the Ross Sea of Antarctica.
The Ross Sea Region Research and Monitoring Programme (Ross-RAMP) is a five-year research programme funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and run by NIWA to evaluate the effectiveness of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area.
A group of intrepid scientists leaves Wellington for Antarctica this week on board NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa for what their leader calls “a voyage of discovery”.

Ross Sea Environment and Ecosystem Voyage 2019

From 8 Jan - 27 Feb 2019 RV Tangaroa is undertaking a six-week research voyage to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. On board scientists, supported by 19 crew members, will be studying ocean, atmosphere and ecosystem processes with the focus on establishing monitoring programmes for the newly created Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area (MPA).
The Ross Sea region is vital to the future of the Antarctic ecosystem.
Scientists will be trying to understand how Antarctic-based Weddell seals see the world when they head to the ice next week.

The fishery is managed differently depending on the region and specific environmental protection and fishery management objectives in the region.

We don’t clearly understand the ecological effects of commerical toothfish fishing in the Ross Sea region. To improve our knowledge, we conducted a survey of demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish species on the Ross Sea slope - particularly grenadiers and icefish - during the 2015 Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage.

All staff working on this subject

Principal Technician - Marine Ecology
Coastal Marine Ecologist
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Marine Ecologist - Quantitative Modeller
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Senior Regional Manager - Wellington
Fisheries Scientist (Quantitative Stock Assessment)
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