INDEPENDENT NEWS

More Action To Protect Hector's Dolphin Welcomed

Published: Thu 16 Dec 1999 03:30 PM
The Forest and Bird Protection Society welcomed the Minister of Conservation's decision to gazette Hector's dolphin as a threatened species.
Society spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said "Hector's dolphin is found only in New Zealand waters and may be the world's rarest marine dolphin. It is recognised by the World Conservation Union as a vulnerable threatened species."
Mr Weeber said further action was needed to protect Hector's dolphin throughout its range, particularly on the west coast of the North Island where a genetically unique population of around 100 individuals had reached a critically low level.
"The main populations are found on the east coast of the South Island, west coast of the North Island, west coast of the South Island and off Southland. In each of these areas dolphins had been found washed ashore with marks consistent with being drowned in set nets."
"The Government should be looking at establishing marine mammal sanctuaries to protect dolphins in all areas where they are killed in set nets, including the west coast of the South Island and west coast of the North Island."
Mr Weeber said the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary needed to be extended to include the sea from Timaru to Motunau. The sanctuary was established in 1988 to prevent dolphins being drowned in set nets.
The Society is calling for a prohibition on set netting in areas where the dolphins live.
ends

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