These are the classification, protection standard and implementation guidelines for the Marine Protected Areas: policy and implementation plan.


This document references the Marine Protected Areas: policy and implementation plan 'MPA Policy"


There are a number of different approaches to marine classification, and the one outlined here is designed to underpin planning for the protection of marine biodiversity. The classification system consists of a hierarchy of five layers which categorise the physical environment.

Protection standard

To implement the MPA Policy, management tools will be put in place to protect the habitats described in the classification system. This protection can be given using a range of tools of three types: Marine Reserve MPAs, other Marine Protected Areas and other Marine Protection Tools.

Implementation guidelines

The MPA Policy takes a regional approach to planning and establishing a network of protected areas around New Zealand. This new approach is designed to be inclusive and transparent. Government wants regional councils, marine users, tangata whenua and those with an interest in marine biodiversity to all be involved. Implementation of the network is to be based on best available information and a commitment to minimise effects of new protected areas on existing users.

The MPA Policy specifies separate processes for the coastal environment and one for the deepwater environment. For the purpose of implementing the network of protected areas, the coastal/deepwater boundary will be the limit of the Territorial Sea (12 nautical miles).

Planning for the coastal marine environment will be implemented independently in 14 biogeographic regions by community-based Marine Protection Planning Forums.

Publication information

Published by the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries

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