Don’t buy New Zealand fish says Conservation Group

Published: Tue 24 May 2016 10:07 AM
McDonald's consumer appeal: don’t buy New Zealand fish to save Maui’s dolphin
German conservation foundation, NABU International is launching an international consumer campaign to persuade McDonald’s and fish consumers worldwide to source their fish from countries other than New Zealand. The organisation has teamed up with over 100 international groups and conservation alliances in an urgent bid to avert the extinction of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin.
New Zealander and freedive world champion, William Trubridge, who earlier this month broke two world records by diving to 124 metres and back on a single breath, supports NABU International’s initiative. “We've been campaigning for years to increase the protection of Maui's dolphins,” he says. “We've shown the scientific evidence that Maui’s are still being killed in nets, and that their salvation requires full protection throughout their entire habitat, out to the 100m depth contour. The science is unequivocal: full protection or extinction. But the New Zealand Government refuses to tread on the fishermen's toes, and so the dolphins shuffle towards annihilation.”
“The industry's only interest is profit, but that means this is also their weakness,” says Mr Trubridge. Now, there is new evidence of Maui's and Hector's dolphin mortalities and their subsequent cover-ups. That’s why we need a wave of action from those who value marine mammals, biodiversity and sustainability.”
“What decent human being or company could possibly buy fish from an industry that fights for the right to kill every last Maui’s dolphin?McDonald's sources eight percent of the fish for its filet-o-fish from New Zealand. That’s why we are asking McDonald’s and consumers everywhere to drop New Zealand fish from their menu. I have faith that most who hear this story will refuse New Zealand fish until it is no longer mixed with the blood of the last few individuals of a beautiful species. Only then will New Zealand’s fishing industry and the Government realise that its brand and its economy depend on the dolphins' survival, and therefore on their protection. Now is the time to show them that they are dependent on consumers, consumers who demand action.”
“New Zealand is in danger of becoming the first country to allow the extinction of a marine dolphin due to human activity,” explains NABU International Chief Executive Thomas Tennhardt. “The industry’s role in the dolphins’ demise is already impacting New Zealand’s international standing and brand; an untenable situation for a country that portrays itself as an environmentally responsible nation and tourist destination. While the government and the industry are in denial, our appeal to McDonald’s and consumers around the world is a last chance SOS to call to avoid the dolphins' demise at the eleventh hour,” add Tennhardt.
NABU International’s calls for an urgent ban of harmful fishing methods across the dolphins’ habitat correspond to recommendations by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Society for Marine Mammalogy. Affected fishermen should be helped to transition to selective, sustainable and dolphin-friendly fishing methods or to alternative livelihoods. The group is calling on McDonald's to drop New Zealand fish from its menu and for consumers to make a pledge not to buy McDonald's fillet-o-fish or any other fish from New Zealand until the dolphins are fully protected.
Maui’s and Hector's dolphins are the smallest and rarest marine dolphins on earth and live only in New Zealand. Maui’s dolphins have declined from an estimated 1,800 in the 1970s to less than 50 as a result of fishing. The closely related Hector’s dolphin is also threatened, with several populations numbering fewer than 100 individuals. Maui’s dolphins have become so rare that the death of more than a single individual every 10 to 23 years will result in extinction. Yet between 3 and 4 Maui’s dolphins die in fishing nets each year.

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