Long Bay/Okura Marine Reserve
Image: Sara Kulins | MERC | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Auckland’s boaties are being urged to adhere to rules around marine reserves and keep off the pest-free islands of the Hauraki Gulf, as city residents take to the water following changes to COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions.

Date:  07 October 2021

After seven weeks in Alert Level 4 and 3 lockdowns, Auckland went into the first step of the new three-step Alert Level 3 plan at midnight on Tuesday.

The rules allow people to enjoy recreation on the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour, and other ocean areas around the city.

DOC has already received reports of rule breaking in marine reserves and has seen an influx of island visitors following the latest shift to Alert Level 3 Step 1.

DOC Operations Manager Kat Lane says two reports of fishing by boat in the Long Bay Marine Reserve were received by the public before 9 am on Wednesday.

“At Alert Level 3 Step 1, Auckland residents are allowed to visit beaches and travel on boats within the region and already we have seen an influx of boaties in the Hauraki Gulf.

“We understand these freedoms are exciting for Auckland residents, but they must remember the rules of boating and the places we are visiting – for example check your boats for pests and follow the very important marine reserve rules or risk facing a fine.”

There are five marine reserves in the Auckland region which are no-take zones meaning no fishing, no collecting shellfish or disturbing any marine life. Feeding of fish or taking any part of the sea floor, including rocks and shells and discharge of any waste, sewage or litter are all prohibited.

During Alert Level 3 DOC marine rangers will be patrolling the area and anyone caught breaking these rules will face a $600 fine and risk of prosecution.

DOC staff have also seen a large number of boaties landing on Hauraki Gulf pest free islands such as Motuihe.

“A big priority for DOC is to keep our staff and the public safe. To do this we are asking people to stay away from the islands and follow the rules to keep our island bubbles free from Covid-19.

“Places like marine reserves and pest free islands are ways to keep environments and species healthy.

“These places also have dedicated people who call them home and who monitor these areas to sustain that healthy environment for these vulnerable species.

“We don’t want to see our people, environments and species – and years of hard work – put at risk so please check your boat for pests and weed seeds, avoid landing on the islands, and definitely don’t bring your dog onto a pest free island.”

It is not DOC’s role to enforce compliance around lockdown or self-isolation rules. If you notice behaviours that are not appropriate, please report this to the police.

Background information


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Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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