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Maui's Dolphin Mortality

**Maui's Dolphin Mortality**

Embargoed to 4.30pm, Tuesday 31 January 2012

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) believes that a dolphin reported accidentally killed by a set net off the coast of Taranaki was likely a Maui's dolphin.

MAF is pleased with the cooperation of the fishing industry which reported the death – in early January – and has supported MAF's investigation, says Scott Gallacher, Deputy Director-General, responsible for Resource Management and Programmes.

"MAF has fishing restrictions in place to manage threats to Maui's dolphins, which are a protected species under the Mammals Protection Act 1978. These were implemented to protect Maui's dolphins from fishing-related threats throughout their known range of movement and include a ban on set nets along a large portion of the west coast of the North Island.

"The recent mortality occurred outside of the current known range of Maui's dolphins, as well as outside the current restrictions.

"MAF also has systems in place to ensure that any incidents relating to Maui's dolphins (and the closely related Hector's dolphins) are reported and to monitor the effectiveness of the current protection measures.

"The fisher returned the dead dolphin to the sea as is normal practice.

"MAF notes that while the dead marine mammal was originally reported as a Hector's dolphin, MAF believes it was more likely to be a Maui's – given the close association of the location with the current known range of Maui's dolphin and that it was within its historical range.

"The mortality is deeply unfortunate, and MAF and the Department of Conservation will ensure any information gained from this investigation will feed into joint work which is currently underway on a Maui's Recovery Plan, and the Hector's and Maui's Dolphin Threat Management Plan."

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