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

 

Law Commission: Review Of Search And Surveillance Act Begins

“For example, the Act was drafted before cloud-based storage of data was commonplace. In the light of these and other developments, the Commission will be examining whether the investigative powers in the Act are sufficient for law enforcement purposes. We will also consider whether the safeguards that surround those processes are adequate.” More>>

ALSO:

Houses, Campers And Cops: LGNZ Media Briefing

At their quarterly media briefing today Local Government New Zealand addressed areas where local authorities are feeling pressure and outlined their approach for the upcoming local body elections in September-October. More>>

ALSO:

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

As Govt Cuts Lobby Anti-Smoking Group Funds: On The Nation - Plain Packaging Debate

Imperial Tobacco leaves open possibility of law suit against New Zealand government if plain packaging is introduced, as planned. Says it’s a “last resort” but “of course we will defend the right to use our brands”. More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news