Visiting Fiordland

Fiordland is a popular destination for water-based activities including fishing, boating, and diving. Find out what you need to do to protect Fiordland's rich biodiversity and unique marine environment when you take part.


The Fiordland environment

Snake star on black coral
 Snake star on black coral

Fiordland is an international treasure with unique but fragile marine ecosystems. The area is rich in marine life including marine mammals, fish, rock lobster and pāua.

Protecting Fiordland

It is vital that we protect this pristine area from introduced marine pests and overfishing.

Marine pests can take over natural environments, displace native species, harm fishing and tourism industries and in extreme cases, affect human health. If new species became established in Fiordland, they could cause irreversible damage.

With increased access and tourism in Fiordland, we also need to protect fish populations and the rich marine biodiversity from overfishing.

MPI has policies and programmes to protect Fiordland, including the Fiordland Marine Biosecurity Programme. If you are visiting the area, you also have a role to play by keeping pests out and following Fiordland fishing rules.

Keep pests out

Marine pests could be carried into Fiordland on vessels or equipment entering the area. Help prevent the introduction of marine pests by keeping your vessel and equipment clean and free of fouling.

Clean Vessel Pass required to enter Fiordland

All vessels traveling to Fiordland waters must hold a Clean Vessel Pass from Environment Southland. This requires you to keep your vessel and equipment clean and free of fouling when entering Fiordland waters.

The pass is a requirement under the Fiordland Marine Regional Pathway Management Plan launched in April 2017.

Make sure your vessel has a clean hull before you go

Make sure your boat has a clean hull 
Make sure your boat has a clean hull

If you plan to take a vessel into the fiords, make sure:

  • your vessel's hull and niche area are clean and free of biofouling (a build-up of plants, algae or animals like shellfish)
  • marine equipment is clean (including anchors, anchor wells, propellers, intakes and outlets)
  • your vessel’s hull has a good, functioning antifouling coating.

Find out how to keep your vessel clean

Watch a video on how to clean your boat – YouTube


Keep equipment clean

Clean and air-dry any marine equipment you are taking into Fiordland, such as fishing gear, diving and snorkelling gear, ropes, pots, canoes, and kayaks.

Find out how to clean marine equipment [PDF, 255 KB]

Useful resources

Follow Fiordland fishing rules

New Zealand has specific fishing rules to protect the fish and shellfish in the Fiordland area. You are legally required to follow these rules around catch and size limits, closed and restricted areas, and trade in seafood. There are penalties for not following the rules.

Visiting New Zealand from overseas

If you plan to bring a vessel to New Zealand from overseas, there are biosecurity and other requirements you need to meet.

Find out more

Who to contact

To report a pest, call 0800 80 99 66.

For information about Fiordland biosecurity or fishing rules, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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