This 4686 square kilometre sanctuary extends 45 kilometres north and south of the Kaikoura peninsula and 56 kilometres out to sea. It protects the sperm, humpback, southern right, blue, killer and other whales that frequent the area and prohibits high-level seismic survey work.
The whale sanctuary covers an area of New Zealand's territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from the Clarence River, north of Kaikōura, to just north of Gore Bay. The sanctuary encompasses 91 kilometres of shoreline and covers an area of 4686 square kilometres. It extends out beyond the 12 nautical mile limit to a maximum of 56 km from the shore. The inner zone of the sanctuary has tighter restrictions on seismic survey activities than the outer zone.