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

Snowden Documents: Show New Zealand Spies On Its Pacific Friends And Sends Data To US

NZ Herald link: New Zealand's spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country's closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden. More>>

ALSO:

Green Call For PM To Come Clean Spying

“Rather than calling the whistle-blowers names, John Key must answer: Have our intelligence agencies been collecting details about phone and internet conversations in the Pacific and passing this information to the Americans? If so, why? And crucially, have New Zealand residents been spied on too; if so, what’s he going to do about it?" More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Teina Pora Wins Appeal: Gordon Campbell On The Privy Council Decision

The quashing of the convictions of Teina Pora for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 has shone a spotlight once again on a major gap in the New Zealand justice system... More>>

ALSO:

Urgent Bill Planned: MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news