The Government has released a code of conduct, aimed at minimising the effect of seismic survey work on marine mammals.
The code has been developed by the Department of Conservation and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association, with input from other stakeholders.
It applies to survey work carried out for oil and gas exploration, seabed minerals prospecting and scientific research.
The code requires increased marine mammal observation and the submission of impact reports to the Department of Conservation.
It also allows the department's director general to specify further mitigation measures if deemed necessary.
The code came into effect on Wednesday.