Monitoring Results


This page contains various articles, research and results from Fiordland Marine Guardians Monitoring Plans.

The diagram below shows a summary of the research projects that are underway and/or completed after this first year of work on integrated marine management in Fiordland. It shows which government agency is leading on each project and how the project contributes to the goals and objectives of the overall monitoring plan. Please click on a project's title to learn more about it and see whether any results are yet available.

Download the Fiordland Marine Area Monitoring Programme Summary for year one (PDF, 157 KB)

Blue Cod Research


In 2005, as part of the Guardians of Fiordland Strategy for the Fiordland Marine Area, Milford and Doubtful Sounds were closed to blue cod fishing. This closure is primarily to allow the blue cod stocks in these two sounds to recover but also to assess the impact of recreational fishing on blue cod abundance.

The closure is temporary and was in place for two years initially. In 2007, the closure was extended for a further two year period, to 29 June 2009. The effects of the closure on the blue cod stocks will continue to be assessed and if necessary the closure may be extended for a further period.

Overview of Research:

To assess the effects of the closure on blue cod stocks, a three year research project has been commissioned to monitor the relative abundance (PDF, 65 KB) in the two sounds. Research has been completed for years one and two of the closure (summer 2005-06 and summer 2006-07). Surveys will also be conducted in 2007/08.

The research project uses experimental fishing:

  • To record blue cod catch and fishing effort during the closure period.
  • To tag blue cod caught to study movement both into and within the fiords.

Blue cod stocks, size, and numbers are monitored within the marine reserves to assess the effect that a marine reserve closure has on the abundance of the blue cod stocks.

The survey consists of:

  • 2-3 experimental fishing trips per season.
  • One fishing vessel with 3 fishers using the same gear and bait, and each fisher fishing for the same length of time.
  • 15-20 sample sites will be fished in each sound during each fishing trip. An additional 10 -15 sites will be fished within the longstanding marine reserve in Milford Sound from 2006/07.
  • All blue cod that are caught are measured and tagged before release.
  • To minimise stress and the risk of injury to the fish the blue cod are not weighed.
  • The lengths and numbers of all other fish caught during the survey are recorded.

Results from the survey trips

Read the full research report  (PDF, 39 KB) on the two research trips made during summer 2005-06.


What to do if you come across a tagged blue cod?

  • If you accidentally catch a blue cod in Milford and Doubtful Sounds please carefully return the cod to the water.

  • If you catch a tagged blue cod outside Milford and Doubtful Sounds please return the tag to NIWA at the address listed on the tag, detailing where the fish was caught and its length.

Come back and check the website from time-to-time to see how this research is going.