This Marine Protected Area comprises 749 ha of seabed, foreshore and water around the Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands. It offers some great recreational opportunities. Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area borders Tapuae Marine Reserve. Be aware the rules of these adjoining areas differ. You can't fish or remove marine life or natural material within Tapuae Marine Reserve.
Recreational fishing is a popular activity in the Marine Protected Area. Individual fishers are restricted to one rod with a maximum of three hooks. Set netting and long lining are banned. Species taken include kingfish, kahawai, snapper, blue cod, trevally, blue moki, sweep, red gurnard and tarakihi. Normal recreational size and bag limits apply. Game fishing for tuna, marlin and mako shark is popular further offshore during summer and early autumn. The Marine Protected Area borders the northern boundary of the Tapuae Marine Reserve. You can't fish or remove marine life or natural material within Tapuae Marine Reserve.
The subtidal marine habitats around the Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands include: spectacular canyons, caves, rock faces with crevices and overhangs, large pinnacles, boulder fields and extensive sand flats. There are at least 89 species of fish, 33 species of encrusting sponges, 28 species of bryozoans and 9 nudibranchs. The Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands are important for 19 species of seabirds, with approximately 10,000 seabirds nesting here. A breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals is there too.
The Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area was established in 1986 to control both fishing (under the Fisheries Act 1983) and non-fishing (under the Harbours Act 1950) activities. The formal protection of this area was supported by a traditional blessing with a tohunga (priest) placing a rahui over the area.
Concern about the areas degree of protection against oil prospecting and development led to the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area Act 1991. The Act included a prohibition against mining.
Marine Protected Area rules
Commercial fishing, except trolling for kingfish and kahawai, is not allowed.
Spoil dumping and activities that may disturb the foreshore and seabed are restricted. This includes anchoring by commercial vessels, mining and drilling.
Access to the Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands is by permit only.
Central area (lower half of the North Island) fishing rules
Check fishing rules in the area (external site) before you go fishing. You need to check for:
Sugar Loaf Islands
Nga Motu, "the islands"
) are a collection of five small uninhabited islands and several
Taranaki, New Zealand
. The largest island,
, covers approximately 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres).
is the island furthest from shore, at approximately 1,500 metres (1,600 yards) or 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles).
Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area
) was established in 1991 to protect the area from oil exploration. This strengthened the protection that had been in place since the formation of a