Hon Kate Wilkinson
Minister of Conservation
Hon David Carter
Minister for Primary Industries
13 March 2012
Government moves to further protect dolphins
The Government is considering further measures to protect Maui’s dolphins as a new study points to a decline in numbers
of the critically endangered species.
A population assessment commissioned by the Department of Conservation shows the number of adult dolphins has gone down
in the six years since the previous assessment, with an estimated 55 adult animals remaining.
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and Primary Industries Minister David Carter – with responsibilities for the Marine
Mammal Protection Act and the Fisheries Act respectively – are proposing added protection measures while a full review
The main areas where the species is found are already protected by marine mammal sanctuaries and restrictions on
The proposed new measures would extend the set net ban along the Taranaki coast from Pariokariwa Point south to Hawera
and out to 4-nautical miles. The West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary would also be extended to Hawera and
out to 12 nautical miles, with restrictions on seismic surveys throughout the sanctuary.
In addition, the Government has asked for a planned review of the Hectors and Maui’s Threat Management Plan to be
brought forward from 2013 to this year – prioritising the Maui’s component.
“The review of the Threat Management Plan will reassess natural and man-made risks that Hectors and Maui’s dolphins face
and recommend how the greatest risks can be mitigated,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“Maui’s are critically endangered so any decline is very concerning. It is important that we act now, which is why the
Government has proposed the interim measures and has brought forward the review of the plan.”
“The Department of Conservation continues to gather data on Maui’s dolphins but everyone can play a part by reporting
Mr Carter says the Government must balance several factors in proposing interim protection measures, including the
impact on the local fishing community.
“For this reason, we will be consulting on the proposed measures before final decisions are made,” he says.