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Western Marlborough Sounds marine survey expands

Good weather and strong progress means the Western Marlborough Sounds marine survey is now expanding its coverage area.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and the Marlborough District Council (MDC) are jointly undertaking the survey which initially covered Pelorus Sound / Te Hoiere as far as Wilsons Bay, and included Admiralty Bay and Te Aumiti / French Pass.

The survey is now extending further into Pelorus Sound / Te Hoiere to Popoure Reach and as far south as Nydia Bay.

Group Manager, Hydrography at LINZ, Rebecca McAtamney says the extra survey coverage will capture more marine farms than previously expected and allow both LINZ and MDC to chart and learn about the marine environment in the additional areas.

Deputy Chair of the MDC Environment Committee, David Oddie says surveying the extra areas is a great result for Marlborough;

“There has never been a scientific multibeam survey of these areas – it will greatly increase our understanding of the whole Pelorus Sound / Te Hoiere environment. It will also improve our marine navigation knowledge and the safety of all users of the sounds.”

Marine data collected during the survey will be used to update navigational charts. It will also inform environmental management of the sounds, and support MDC and local iwi to make decisions around resource management and marine biodiversity.


The Western Marlborough Sounds marine survey is the second high-tech marine survey in the region following the award-winning survey of Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au from 2016 to 2017.

Specialist marine survey companies iXblue and DML are carrying out the survey on contract to LINZ and the MDC. The companies are working in different survey areas to map the seabed, which is up to 100 metres deep in places. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is providing quality assurance services on the scientific products arising from the survey and gathering seabed samples for future research.

The survey is expected to be completed by the end of May 2020 when temporary equipment such as tide gauges will be removed from survey sites, and all vessels will leave the area. Data is expected to be submitted to LINZ for review and chart production in September 2020. The data will later be made available through the online LINZ Data Service.

LINZ joins forces for second high-tech marine survey of Marlborough Sounds

• About LINZ hydrographic survey programme visit https://www.linz.govt.nz/sea/charts/annual-work-programme

• About the LINZ-MDC Queen Charlotte Sound / Totaranui seabed mapping project visit http://bit.ly/seabedmappingQC

• Seabed habitat mapping: https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/environment/coastal/seabed-habitat-mapping

• Seabed habitat maps, Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui: https://marlborough.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=155a89b0beb74035bd1c4c71f6f36646

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