INDEPENDENT NEWS

Statement about the whale in Wellington Harbour and Matariki

Published: Fri 6 Jul 2018 03:40 PM
Statement about the whale in Wellington Harbour and Matariki
From Ian Angus, Marine Species Threats Manager
We appreciate there’s a keen public interest in the welfare of the southern right whale spotted in Wellington Harbour this week. Concerns sparked that this whale would be negatively impacted by the Matariki fireworks display Wellington City Council have planned for Saturday. We consulted with experts from DOC and the University of Auckland to determine what the risks were, their significance, and if they were possible to mitigate.
Our primary concern is increased vessel traffic, including risk of vessel strike and increased underwater noise from vessels. Our experts’ opinion is that the noise of the actual fireworks will be significantly muted underwater and is unlikely to harm the whale.
We made some suggestions to WCC around whale location, vessel restriction and responsible boating behaviour to minimise the vessel traffic risk. These included monitoring the whale’s whereabouts -- if it’s in the northern or eastern portions of the harbour, the display will pose little risk compared to if it were in direct view of the launch barge – limiting number of vessels in main on-water viewing locations if the whale is confirmed to be near; reducing vessel speed and applying extra caution; and maintaining the required legal distances.
Not only is there a risk to the whale from vessels, there is also a risk to smaller vessels, and non-motorised vessels especially, if the whale is breaching which it has been seen to do over the past few days.
The whale was spotted this morning near the InterIslander Ferry Terminal, and there is still no reason to believe that its behaviour is unusual or it’s under any duress. We do want to reiterate that whale watchers need to keep at least 50m away from the whale and no more than three vessels and/or aircraft should be within 300 m of any marine mammal. ‘Vessel’ includes boats and kayaks.
We supplied this advice to Wellington City Council today for them to take into consideration when making their decision. We will not be giving media interviews at this time.
–Ends–

Next in New Zealand politics

Gordon Campbell on Malaysia exposing our China policies
By: Gordon Campbell
Auckland Pride remains committed
By: Auckland Pride Festival
PM welcomes state visit by Korean President Moon Jae-in
By: New Zealand Government
Changes to drinking water standards and health
By: New Zealand Government
Police detention was unlawful but reasonable
By: Independent Police Conduct Authority
Joint Statement by Sebastián Piñera and Jacinda Ardern
By: New Zealand Government
Top academics call on government to take climate action
By: UNITEC
Gordon Campbell on NZ’s complicity in Western Sahara
By: Gordon Campbell
NZ aligned with principles not countries at APEC - Ardern
By: RNZ
Tonga and Vanuatu join China's Belt and Road
By: RNZ
US expands regional presence, part of Indo-Pacific strategy
By: RNZ
PNG foreign minister denies report on Chinese forced entry
By: RNZ
The Nation: Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker
By: The Nation
APEC Leaders Face Challenges Together for Stronger Growth
By: APEC
PM O’Neill to Private Sector: Invest in Digital, Innovate
By: APEC
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media