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What does Fish Forever do?

We promote and support marine protection initiatives within, near and beyond New Zealand's Bay of Islands.
We meet the last Thursday of every month in Paihia and welcome new members.
Please get in touch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 027 243-1777

Help these guys grow old in the
Maunganui Bay / Deep Water Cove Rahui!

Support the rollover of the Rahui for another two years!



put the big ones backno fishingdolphins in distressvol fishing accordsedimentationREPORT MARINE PESTS

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Reversing the decline

troubleThe Bay of Islands sparkles on the surface, but underneath life is in trouble. The teeming marine life that greeted past generations is now a shadow of its former self. There are many things we can do to reverse the decline. Let's all make changes on the water and on land that will help to rebuild what we love. Future generations must be able to enjoy Tangaroa's abundance. [Read more...]

 Some of the marine protection tools that can start to reverse the decline:

No-take areas deliver

Like we are already beginning to see in the Maunganui Bay rahui, no-take areas are the quickest way to enable marine life to thrive - for recovery, spillover, education, science, tourism and a fantastic snorkelling exprience! [Read more...]

No-take areas boost reproduction

New research confirms adult snapper in the Leigh Marine Reserve boost snapper abundance in surrounding waters. This small marine reserve is punching well above its weight, contributing 10% of juvenile snapper between the Hen and Chicks and Whangaparoa.  [Read more...]




Hapu can lead they way using tools in the Customary Fisheries Legislation to rebuild local fish stocks. Ngati Kuta and Patukeha have done this well with the Maunganui Bay Rahui. Ngā Hapū o Taiamai ki Te Marangi established the 20 sq km Te Puna Mātaitai which excludes commercial fishing. We look forward to the kaitiaki setting bylaws to manage the recreational fishing in this area. [Read more...]


Manage for more fish


Let’s choose to manage our fisheries to have more fish in the sea. Historically NZ's fisheries management decisions have been based on trying to keep fish stocks at just 20% of natural abundance. Managing for 50% natural abundance would mean more fish, bigger fish. [Read more...]

Voluntary fishing accord


Our ever increasing population and technology has put enormous pressure on fish stocks in the Bay of Islands. This is our new reality.  Here's some simple actions all of us who fish can take to conserve our stocks. [Read more...]

Dolphins in distress!


We're loving them to death! In the Bay of Islands 75% of calves die before reaching adulthood... [Read more...]

Sedimentation is a killer


Things we do on land affects the amount of fish in the sea. Loss of sediment-trapping wetlands means 500,000 tonnes of silt surges down our rivers and out into the Bay of Islands each year. It's a silent killer smothering shellfish beds and kelp forests, and turning rock seabeds to mud. [Read more...]

Keep marine pests out


Like possums and stoats on land, marine pests have huge potential to wreak havoc on our native marine life. Let's keep them out of the Bay of Islands! [Read more...]


Good reads:


no take vs partial protection

put the big ones back


bring on the science

where to see lots of fish


know where you can dump



schoollingmaomaoAt present Marine Reserves can only be established in New Zealand through the strict procedures set out in the Marine Reserves Act 1971. They are specified areas of the sea and foreshore that are managed to preserve them in their natural state as the habitat of marine life for scientific study.

Marine reserves may be established in areas that contain underwater scenery, natural features, or marine life of such distinctive quality, or so typical, beautiful or unique that their continued preservation is in the national interest.

Their rules are similar to national parks: no disturbing or taking marine life, rocks, shells or anything else natural, plus no discharges or dredging. However, you may dive, snorkel, take photos, swim, kayak, anchor (with care), picnic on the beach, build sandcastles, and explore rock pools.

There are a limited number of types of organisation that are qualified to apply to the Minister of Conservation to create one. The likely effects are much debated, because the size, age, circumstances and history of each one has an influence on the natural processes and outcome at any one time. However, research and monitoring in many of our 33 marine reserves generally shows that fish communities and other marine life tend to recover towards their natural state.

Research overseas shows that if the area is large enough and compliance is effective, recovery can be extensive over time. You can find monitoring reports for New Zealand’s marine reserves on the DOC website here. The Marine Reserves Act itself is available to read here.

The Poor Knights

Poorknights thumbIn 1981, the ocean surrounding the Poor Knights Islands, off the East Coast of Northland was established as New Zealand's second marine reserve. For many years only two small parts of the Poor Knights were totally protected from fishing, while limited recreational fishing was allowed in most of the Poor Knights waters. That anomaly was finally corrected in 1998 when full protection was given to the marine life of the Poor Knights, around the whole island group out to 800 metres offshore.

The Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve has resulted in a significant increase in the size and abundance of snapper. A 2009 study [link] shows that after more than ten years of no take protection snapper counts were 14 times greater than in 1998 before the marine reserve became fully no-take. The MarineNZ website has a great article on the Poor Knights: The Amazing Poor Knights - Totally Protected and Showing It! 

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Goat-island-thumb-2The Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve - more commonly known as Goat Island - was established in 1975 as New Zealand’s first marine reserve. It protects 547 hectares of shore and sea on the northeastern coast near Leigh.

The reserve includes 5km of coastline and an area extending 800metres offshore. Regular monitoring over the years shows that abundance and size of snapper and cray are considerably greater within the protected areas than in adjacent unprotected areas. The changing outcomes are not always clear cut but you only need to talk to someone who’s snorkelled at the reserve to find out what a difference full protection makes. You can view a summary and download fish monitoring reports at the DOC website. 

Latest news

Wrecked Reefs by John Booth - Russell Review Article

Just where does the buck stop for shallow-reef kelp loss in the Bay of Islands? It has crept up on us. The process has been slow and steady –…

Bay of Islands Recreational Fishing Report - John Booth

Recreational fishing in the Bay of Islands: intense pressure contributes to stress on fishstocks and to local ecological degradation. By John Booth,…

Kina and their effect on algal communities in the Bay of Islands

Rocky shores around New Zealand have areas in water depths of between about three to eleven metres where there is little (and sometimes no) kelp. In…

Maunganui Bay rahui rolled for a further two years!

A huge thank you to Ngati Kuta and Patukeha hapu for intitiating and extending this rahui. The area has now been protected since 2010. The Ministry…

Join Fish Forever

nudi spongeAll of us with an interest and love of Tangaroa, let's work together and take on the challenge of marine protection for the Bay.

Annual Membership Rates:
Student/concession - $15.00
Affiliate (please name organistation) - $15.00
Individual - $25.00
Family - $35.00

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