A group set up to find sites for the first marine parks on the Otago coast has received 2800 submissions.
The South East Marine Protection Forum has run a two-month consultation period for comment on its proposal to protect up to 20 coastal areas between Timaru to the bottom of the Catlins.
Forum chairperson Maree Baker-Galloway said she was pleased - but not surprised - by the level of interest, because the south-east coast held a lot of values for a lot of different people.
Ms Baker-Galloway said the forum, which was appointed by the environment minister, will have to work hard to finalise its recommendations by April next year.
There are currently no marine protected areas on that part of the coast.