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Maui’s could be extinct in 20 years

02 Jul 2013
Scientists are urging the NZ government to take immediate action to ensure ‘full protection of Maui’s in all areas throughout their habitat’ © WWF-New Zealand

Scientists are urging the NZ government to take immediate action to ensure ‘full protection of Maui’s in all areas throughout their habitat’ © WWF-New Zealand

The International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) 2013 report acknowledges that New Zealand’s Maui’s dolphins will decline to just 10 adult breeding females in six years and become functionally extinct in less than 20 years, unless they are protected from gillnetting and trawling.

This is similar advice to that given by the IWC in 2012, but WWF says there has been a lack of progress from New Zealand to save the last estimated 55 Maui’s dolphins.

WWF-New Zealand’s Executive Director, Chris Howe, said: “One year after the IWC urged immediate action to protect our critically endangered dolphins, it is unacceptable that Maui’s are still at risk of dying needlessly while we wait for adequate protection.”

The organisation is calling for permanent measures that remove fishing gear which kills dolphins from their waters, and also for the government to help affected fishermen adopt dolphin-friendly methods.

The government announced interim protection measures in June 2012, but fishing activity is still allowed to continue in parts of Maui’s habitat. Scientists’ estimate that over 95% of unnatural Maui’s deaths are caused by entanglement and drowning in gillnet or trawl fishing.

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Scientists are urging the NZ government to take immediate action to ensure ‘full protection of Maui’s in all areas throughout their habitat’ © WWF-New Zealand

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