INDEPENDENT NEWS

Working with Bay of Island boat owners to protect dolphins

Published: Thu 7 Apr 2016 12:58 PM
Media release
Thursday April 7, 2016
DOC working with Bay of Island boat owners to protect local dolphins
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has begun working with boat owners, iwi and the wider Bay of Islands community on ways to better manage boat interactions with local bottlenose dolphins.
A Massey University report, commissioned by DOC, indicates a very high level of interaction between boats and dolphins, and an ongoing fall in the local bottlenose dolphin population in the Bay of Islands.
The local bottlenose population has fallen from more than 250 individuals to fewer than 100 in the past 15 years.
Bottlenose dolphins are found around the world and the global population is not endangered. However bottlenose dolphins living in New Zealand are classified as endangered because the three main populations are small and more vulnerable.
There is a risk, if the local population continues to fall that bottlenose dolphins will be driven out of the Bay of Islands.
DOC Northern North Island Director of Operations, Sue Reed-Thomas says Bay of Islands bottlenose dolphins are facing a unique situation because of the very heavy boat traffic in the area.
“The Bay of Islands is a boating Mecca with a high density of boats on the water. As a result the study shows dolphins in the area are spending 86% of their daylight hours in the presence of at least one boat.”
“This is very disruptive for the dolphins. It means they spend far less time feeding, nursing their young and sleeping.”
“We know people love dolphins. People are simply loving them too much,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.
The majority of interactions involves private boats and commercial vessels taking tourists around the Bay of Islands. These boat owners interact with dolphins when they see them while cruising.
“It’s very difficult to manage a group of wild animals swimming freely. The dolphins often swim towards boats themselves and you simply can’t put a barrier around them or monitor every interaction they have,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.
“Everyone who puts a boat on the water in the Bay of Islands needs to be aware of the problem so they play their part in protecting the local dolphin population.”
DOC has already picked up on some of the recommendations in the Massey scientists’ report.
“We’ve begun talking to local boat operators and iwi as part of an education and engagement programme. We will also be maintaining our moratorium on new commercial dolphin watching operations in the region and looking at strengthening local marine mammal regulations,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.
“DOC will continue working with all boat owners operating in the Bay of Islands - plus iwi and the wider community - to develop a co-ordinated and effective response to this issue,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.
Background information:
• Bottlenose dolphins are widely distributed around the world and at a global level the species is not considered endangered. However New Zealand’s resident bottlenose dolphin populations are relatively small and centred around coastal areas in the Bay of Islands, Fiordland and the north western South Island regions. There are believed to be less than 1000 bottlenose dolphins across these populations and in New Zealand they are classified as nationally endangered. For more information on bottlenose dolphins see:http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/dolphins/bottlenose-dolphin/
• Commercial operators require permits to run dolphin watching tours which set out specific conditions to protect dolphins from undue stress. General information about how all boat and vessel owners should behave around dolphins is available on DOC’s website: http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/sharing-our-coasts-with-marine-mammals/

Next in New Zealand politics

Government To Regulate Vaping
By: New Zealand Government
On The Political Donations Scandals
By: Gordon Campbell
New Zealand: Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response, Says UN Expert
By: UN Special Rapporteur
National’s Economic Plan For 2020 And Beyond
By: New Zealand National Party
Right To Regulate Vaping But Wrong To Limit Flavours
By: Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand
Vapers Welcome Risk Proportionate Regulation On Vaping
By: Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy
Vaping Crackdown Bill Needs Improvement
By: New Zealand Taxpayers' Union
Pacific Communities Will Benefit From Vaping Bill
By: Tala Pasifika
Vaping Crackdown Condemns Another Generation To Smoking
By: ACT New Zealand
ASH Welcomes Vaping Legislation
By: ASH
Ka Pai To Vaping Bill Announcement - Now It’s Time To Work Together
By: Hapai Te Hauora
Cancer Society Responds To Proposed Vaping Regulations
By: Cancer Society
Statement Of Jami-lee Ross - "Spoke Up Now Set Up"
By: Jami-Lee Ross
Foreign donation loophole still wide open
By: Jami-Lee Ross
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media