Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Whale death in Hauraki Gulf highlights urgent need


Whale death in Hauraki Gulf highlights urgent need to address ship strike problem

A necropsy on a Bryde’s whale found dead on Motuihe Island has confirmed that the whale was hit by a vessel highlighting the urgent need to address the ship strike problem to save the critically endangered population of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf.

Photo by DOC
NewZealand is one of the few places in theworld with a resident population of Bryde’s whale.The New Zealand population of Bryde’s whales lives primarily in the Hauraki Gulf and is listed as critically endangered by the Department of Conservation (DOC).This is because its small and reliant for its survival on one location. There are less than 200 Bryde’s whales living in the gulf.

The dead Bryde’s whale was a female measuring 14.5 metres long. It was found on rocks near Wharf Bayon Motuihe on Sunday (November 11).The Department of Conservation (DOC) towed the whale to Calypso Bayon Motuihe, on Monday (November12).

The necropsy was completed yesterday (Wednesday November 14) and the whale was buried at Calypso Bayafter being blessed by Ngai Tai representatives. Calypso Bay is a suitable site for the necropsy and burial as it’s rarely used by visitors to Motuihe and has no archaeological sites.

“The necropsy has confirmed the Bryde’s whale was alive when it was struck by a vessel and died as a result of the injuries it received,” says DOC Auckland Area biodiversity manager Phil Brown.
“Ship strike poses the greatest threat to Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. This latest death highlights the urgent need to take action to address this problem,” says Phil Brown.

In the last 16 years there have been 42 confirmed deaths of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf. Eighteen of these dead whales were examined and 16 are most likely to have died as the result of being struck by a vessel.

DOC is working with a wide number of organisations and agenciesto address theship strike issue. The Environmental Defence Society ,the Hauraki Gulf Forum and the University of Auckland have convened two workshops attended byshipping interests, iwi, DOC and other government agencies to develop a plan of action.

As a result of the workshops DOC is working with shipping representatives and Auckland University marine mammal biologist, Dr Rochelle Constantine to develop practical steps to reduce the risk of ship strike.

The shipping representatives have agreed to implement a number of measures. These include:
• Slowing their ships down in the Hauraki Gulf when schedules permit
• Establishing shipping lanes to reduce the area of the gulf in which ships travel. These lanes will be able to be moved away from areas where whales are sighted. Crew watching for whales while their ships move through the gulf during the day
• Establishing a Hauraki Gulf Large Whale Warning System. This will involve commercial whale and dolphin watching operators, and other boats in the gulf, reporting whale sightings to Ports of Auckland who relay the sightings to all shipping in the gulf.
• The shipping industry has agreed to contribute funding for research focusing primarily on ways of reducing ship strike.

Hauraki Gulf Forum Chairman John Tregidga says the ship strike workshops highlighted the critical importance of ship speed to the survival of whales.

“A few large ships travel through the Hauraki Gulf at more than 20 knots. The average speed for large ships in the gulf is 14.2knots. Scientists have estimated that if this speed was reduced to 10 knots, the Bryde’s whale would have a 75% chance of surviving a strike,” says John Tregidga.

“I would strongly encourage the industry to establish 10 knots as a code of best practice for the Hauraki Gulf,” said John Tregidga

“Itis good to see shipping interests actively engaged in the issue,” says Environmental Defence Society Policy Director Raewyn Peart.

“But this latest incident highlights the urgent need for shipping companies to reduce the speed of their vessels before any more whales are killed.”

“Research conducted last summer showed that the whales are widely dispersed and shallow divers. They are particularly vulnerable at night when the animals float close to the surface.”

“Ship speed is the critical factor in their decline and must be the priority for industry and legislative responses,” concluded Raewyn Peart.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news