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

Gordon Campbell:
On The National Leadership “Contest”

Key’s endorsement of English has turned this “contest” into a race for second place.

This succession was well planned. Lets not forget that English was told by Key in September of his intention to resign, and English was the only member of Cabinet entrusted with that information before it was sprung on everyone else on Monday morning. More>>

Latest: Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have withdrawn from the leadership race, leaving Bill English the only candidate to replace John Key as Prime Minister.

 

Education, Marketing, Taxes: Health Groups Call For Actions For Sugary Drinks

The New Zealand Dental Association is launching a new consensus statement on Sugary Drinks endorsed by key health organisations. The actions seek to reduce harm caused by sugary drinks consumption. More>>

ALSO:

More Departures? David Shearer Proposed For UN Peacekeeping Role

Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Security Agencies' Reports: GCSB Wants To Give ISPs More Power To Block Threats

The Government Communications Security Bureau wants to give internet service providers more information and power to block cyber threats which are increasing, its director told the intelligence and security select committee yesterday.. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Charter Schools Misleading Pass Rates

Labour: NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated... In one case a school reported a 93.3 per cent pass rate when the facts show only 6.7 per cent of leavers achieved NCEA level two. More>>

ALSO:

Rebstock Report Resolution: SSC Apologises To Derek Leask And Nigel Fyfe

Following a complaint by Mr Leask, the Ombudsman found that the State Services Commission acted unreasonably in relation to Mr Leask and identified numerous deficiencies in the investigation process and in the publication of the final report and in the criticisms it contained of Mr Leask... More>>

ALSO:

International Rankings: Student Results 'Show More Resourcing Needed'

NZEI: New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Salvation Army Report: Beyond The Prison Gate Report

A new Salvation Army report says changes must be made to how prisoners re-enter society for New Zealanders to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Surprise Exit: Gordon Campbell On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news