INDEPENDENT NEWS

Weak measures will fail Hector’s dolphins

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2006 09:41 AM
21 December 2006 - Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use
Weak measures will fail Hector’s dolphins
New measures announced today by Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton fail to adequately control set netting around New Zealand, virtually guaranteeing that Hector’s dolphins will continue to die in recreational set nets this summer, Forest & Bird says.
“The weak measures announced today fall short of the interim measures recently considered, let alone the set net ban that is required to adequately protect the species,” Forest South Island Field Coordinator Eugenie Sage says.
“The measures announced today were the absolute minimum that the Minister could impose and still say that he was doing something,” Ms Sage says.
“The only extra is that in two South Island areas recreational set netters must now stay with their nets at all times. Many set netters ignore these rules and there are not enough Ministry of Fisheries officers to enforce compliance.”
“In recent weeks the Fisheries Minister has made similarly weak decisions that have failed to adequately protect New Zealand sea lions and albatrosses from being caught and drowned in the Auckland Island squid fishery and the Kermadec swordfish fishery.”
“The Ministry of Fisheries has already extensively publicised its Code of Practice among fishers. The ongoing high level of set net mortalities shows that education has not worked. Stronger controls are urgently needed.”
“As a minimum interim measure, the Minister should have extended the current summertime ban on set nets on the Canterbury coast to the Kaikoura coast, to the West Coast, to Te Wae Wae Bay in Southland, and to Porpoise Bay in the Catlins.”
“In 2005 nine Hector’s dolphin set net mortalities were reported on the West Coast in 2005, including four in a single net at Neils Beach in South Westland. Three dolphins died in set nets at Kaikoura in 2003 and three in Canterbury in 2005.”
“The new measures provide no effective protection for these important stronghold and sub populations of Hector’s dolphin,” she says.
“The long-term survival of Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins requires a year round set net ban across their entire range.”
“The set net ban off the north-west coast of the North Island clearly demonstrates that if we remove this threat, the number of dolphin deaths is considerably reduced.”
Forest & Bird is seeking a New Zealand wide set net ban and the establishment of Marine Mammal Sanctuaries in each of the critical Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin areas. Sanctuaries would provide protection for the species from recreational and commercial set netting and trawling.
Background Notes
- Hector’s dolphin is in the same “Endangered” threat category as the Great Panda in China on the IUCN Red List of Species Threatened with Extinction;
- Set nets kill nearly everything that swims into them including non-target marine life and seabirds, for example shearwaters, shags, penguins, seals, sea turtles and dolphins;
- Set nets are a key threat to the threatened Hector’s dolphin and critically endangered Maui’s dolphin;
- Compliance with set net regulations is poor and most captures of marine mammals and birds are not reported;
- Set nets are banned or heavily restricted in many countries worldwide, including Australia, the UK and USA;
- Between 1995 and 2005, 41 Hector’s dolphins were reported entangled and drowned in West Coast set nets. Dolphins have been killed every year, except 2003.
ENDS

Next in New Zealand politics

New Zealand Secures Major Free Trade Deal With European Union
By: New Zealand Government
New Measures To Help Manage COVID-19 As Country Stays At Orange
By: New Zealand Government
Prime Minister's Remarks At NATO Summit
By: New Zealand Government
New Era For Better Health In Aotearoa New Zealand
By: New Zealand Government
Alcohol Harm Minimisation Bill Pulled From Biscuit Tin
By: Green Party
Wellington’s Rapid Transit Option Progresses To Next Stage
By: New Zealand Government
EU Market Remains Largely Closed To NZ Dairy
By: Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand
Winners And Losers In NZ-EU FTA
By: Business NZ
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media