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

 

Endangered bottlenose dolphins at risk from boat race


Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Endangered bottlenose dolphins at risk from boat race

A series of boat races dubbed “the equivalent of Formula One” in the Bay of Islands on March 1 will put the lives of endangered bottlenose dolphins at risk and needs to be stopped, say Massey researchers.

Director of the Coastal-Marine Research Group Dr Karen Stockin says the timing of the races couldn’t be worse, as it falls during peak calving time.

“This is the second year the races have been held at Paihia, and it’s simply the wrong place to hold them. This area is not only a critical habitat for this popualtion but it is peak calving season.

“Researchers have observed at least six newborns using these waters over recent weeks. The risk of boat strike to dolphins is immense when dealing with high-speed vessels, as has been shown in our previous research. The risk, unfortunately, is only exacerbated when young calves are present.

“Research conducted by my Massey colleague Dr Gabriela Tezanos-Pinto shows that 42 per cent of dolphin calves in the Bay of Islands area die before reaching their first year of life, and 22 per cent die before reaching their second year of life. This level of mortality is higher than those reported in other populations in the world.”

Dr Stockin says the organisers - NZ Offshore Powerboat Racing - have received approval from the Bay of Islands Regional Harbourmaster. “The Department of Conservation, the agency responsible for managing marine mammals in New Zealand, does not appear to have been consulted until after that approval was granted,” she says.

Dr Stockin says there is a real risk to dolphins in the area as they have nowhere to take refuge, especially if spectator boat numbers are as high as anticipated.

“The risk to marine mammals in this area of being injured or worse during these high speed races is exceptionally high. Bottlenose dolphins in New Zealand are classified as Nationally Endangered and our research shows that the Bay of Islands has a declining population.

Marine mammals in New Zealand are legally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1978).

The Marine Mammal Protection Regulations (1992) cover commercial whale and dolphin watching activities, and incidental recreational interaction. Under these regulations vessels must avoid rapid changes in both speed and direction and not exceed speeds faster than the slowest mammal within a vicinity of 300 metres. Vessels travelling at speeds over 15 knots are more likely to kill a whale or dolphin if they hit it, and can still cause severe damage if travelling over five knots (or no wake speed).

“It seems an oxymoron that we have strict regulations that govern our marine mammal tourism industry yet such an event could be allowed to proceed without all the necessary consultation,” Dr Stockin says.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement.

As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

 

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Refugee Intake (And Uber’s Woes)

On figures released this week, there are currently 65.6 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine or other external causes… More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Report: GCSB Support For Groser WTO Bid Not Illegal

“The inquiry has found that the GCSB did not act unlawfully or improperly in providing assistance to the New Zealand government campaign”, Ms Gwyn said. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Pike And Houses

There were questions on Pike River mine re-entry after new video from inside the drift was released over the weekend. English maintained a human effort would not be feasible irrespective of any future coalition demands from NZ First. He said the government would continue to work with families on non-manned re-entry. More>>

ALSO:

Flogging A Dead Horse: NZ First Seeks New s59 Referendum

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law - NZ First calls for a binding referendum. NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself. More>>

ALSO:

Always Interesting: Internet Party Has New Leader

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson... She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose.More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog
More RSS News Alerts