NZ sets restrictions to protect dolphins
The Plan review will reassess natural and man-made risks facing Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins. Credit: NABU International
New Zealand Primary Industries Minister David Carter has announced measures to protect Maui’s dolphins.
Following a public consultation process, the existing recreational and commercial set net ban will be extended along the Taranaki coast from Pariokariwa Point south to Hawera, and out to two nautical miles.
In addition, the use of commercial set nets between two and seven nautical miles in this area will be prohibited without an observer onboard.
“Maui’s dolphins are critically endangered, with an estimated 55 adult animals remaining. The Government is taking this action to protect these dolphins while the Threat Management Plan is reviewed. This will be completed by the end of November,” says Mr Carter.
“While there is a high level of uncertainty about the activity of Maui’s dolphins in the Taranaki area, the fact remains that their small number necessitates this action.
“At the same time, the Government is fully aware of the potential impact of this extended ban on the local fishing community which is why a review of the Threat Management Plan is needed,” Mr Carter says.
The review of the Plan will reassess natural and man-made risks facing Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins and recommend how the greatest risks can be mitigated.
However, WWF has said that the plans are “half measures that will fail to save the remaining estimated 55 Maui’s dolphins from imminent extinction”.
Rebecca Bird, WWF-New Zealand’s marine programme manager said “This decision means the government is knowingly allowing a method of fishing that kills dolphins to go ahead in their habitat. Instead of seizing the opportunity to give Maui’s the best chance for survival and population recovery, these measures are simply not enough to protect the species from extinction.”
The organisation says that the measures fail to adequately protect dolphins from commercial and recreational gillnet fishing and trawling throughout their entire range.
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