These marine fishes and invertebrates are protected throughout New Zealand and its fishery waters under the Wildlife Act 1953.

It's an offence to hunt, kill, disturb, possess, buy, sell or destroy any of the species below or any part of one without a permit. See section 7BA of the Wildlife Act 1953.

It's not an offence to accidentally catch any of these species if they are released immediately and the capture is reported as soon as possible to DOC. 

There are additional reporting requirements for commercial fishers.

Grouper and shark, Kermadec Islands
Image: James Marsden ©

Protected sharks and rays

Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)

Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)

Smalltooth sandtiger/deepwater nurse shark (Odontaspis ferox)

Great white shark/white shark/white pointer shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)

Oceanic manta ray/giant manta ray (Mobula birostris)

Spinetail devil ray/spinetail mobula/giant devil ray (Mobula mobular)

Protected bony fishes

Giant grouper/Queensland grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus)

Spotted black grouper/black cod (Epinephelus daemelii)  

Fishes identification guide (PDF, 6,000K)

Protected marine invertebrates

Black corals (all species in the order Antipatharia)

Gorgonians/sea fans/fan corals (all species in the order Gorgonacea)

Stony/hard corals (all species in the order Scleractinia)

Hydrocorals (all species in the family Stylasteridae, including red corals)

Coral identification guide (PDF, 4,560K)

Back to top