User’s Guide to the Fiordland Marine Area

The FiordlaFisheries Guidend Marine Guardians and management agencies (Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, Ministry of Fisheries and Environment Southland) have produced a practical guide for people visiting the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area.

The guide is a "one-stop shop" publication containing all of the main marine regulations plus practical and interesting information about the history, the environment and the establishment of the Fiordland Marine Area to help you get the most out of your visit.

The guide (which is fully water-proof!), has four main, easily navigable, colour-coded sections and gives you:

  • an introduction to the Fiordland marine environment and fisheries
  • an account of the establishment of the Fiordland Marine Area and how it is managed
  • an introduction to Fiordland's history, and its physical and biological character
  • practical information about the activities permitted in the Fiordland Marine Area
  • the recreational fishing regulations for the Fiordland Marine Area
  • a fiord-by-fiord guide for the Fiordland Marine Area, including maps of recommended anchorage sites
  • a list of charts and informative books on the Fiordland area

The user guide is available free of charge (although a small postage fee may apply). 


Download (PDF, 4 MB)

Order hard copy

You can buy a copy from the Department of Conservation's Te Anau and Invercargill offices.

Department of Conservation
Fiordland National Park
Visitor Centre
Lakefront Drive
Te Anau 9600
P: +64 03 249 7924
Department of Conservation
Level 7
CUE on Don
33 Don Street
Invercargill 9840

User Guide cover photo courtesy of Paddy Ryan.

Updates to the User Guide

Amendments to Fisheries Regulations

[Effective from 1 October 2009]


Within the Fiordland Marine Area, there is now provision for 'rock lobster holding pots' to be used in addition to 'rock lobster (catching) pots'. The Fiordland Marine Area is one of the few places nationwide where holding pots are commonly and regularly used by recreational fishers. Due to the area's remoteness and access constraints, holding pots are a practical solution to the absence of freezer storage.

Rock lobster pot means any pot, whether baited or not, that is capable of catching or holding rock lobster; and includes any other device capable of catching holding, or storing rock lobster except a loop, bob or ring pot.

Rock lobster holding pot means a pot that is used, or can be used for holding or storing rock lobster but does not include any pot that is capable of catching rock lobster.

  • Holding pots are excluded from other rock lobster pot limits and escape gap requirements.
  • Restrictions apply limiting one holding pot per person or a maximum of 2 holding pots per vessel if there are two or more persons.
  • Holding pots and attached surface floats used from or transported on a vessel must be clearly and permanently marked with the vessel name and the characters HP 1 for the first holding pot and (if applicable) HP 2 for the second holding pot.
  • Holding pots and attached surface floats used other than from a vessel must be clearly and permanently marked with the fishers surname, initials and the characters HP.


Only hand operated loops or lassoes may be used to take rock lobster. It is prohibited to use a spring loaded loop or lasso.

Further information is available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website

An updated Fiordland Marine Area recreational fishing rules brochure has been printed.

To obtain a copy contact:-

Ministry for Primary Industries - Fisheries offices
137 Spey Street
Phone (03) 211 0060