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

 

Working with Bay of Island boat owners to protect dolphins

Media release

Thursday April 7, 2016

DOC working with Bay of Island boat owners to protect local dolphins

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has begun working with boat owners, iwi and the wider Bay of Islands community on ways to better manage boat interactions with local bottlenose dolphins.

A Massey University report, commissioned by DOC, indicates a very high level of interaction between boats and dolphins, and an ongoing fall in the local bottlenose dolphin population in the Bay of Islands.

The local bottlenose population has fallen from more than 250 individuals to fewer than 100 in the past 15 years.

Bottlenose dolphins are found around the world and the global population is not endangered. However bottlenose dolphins living in New Zealand are classified as endangered because the three main populations are small and more vulnerable.

There is a risk, if the local population continues to fall that bottlenose dolphins will be driven out of the Bay of Islands.

DOC Northern North Island Director of Operations, Sue Reed-Thomas says Bay of Islands bottlenose dolphins are facing a unique situation because of the very heavy boat traffic in the area.

“The Bay of Islands is a boating Mecca with a high density of boats on the water. As a result the study shows dolphins in the area are spending 86% of their daylight hours in the presence of at least one boat.”

“This is very disruptive for the dolphins. It means they spend far less time feeding, nursing their young and sleeping.”



“We know people love dolphins. People are simply loving them too much,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.

The majority of interactions involves private boats and commercial vessels taking tourists around the Bay of Islands. These boat owners interact with dolphins when they see them while cruising.

“It’s very difficult to manage a group of wild animals swimming freely. The dolphins often swim towards boats themselves and you simply can’t put a barrier around them or monitor every interaction they have,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.

“Everyone who puts a boat on the water in the Bay of Islands needs to be aware of the problem so they play their part in protecting the local dolphin population.”

DOC has already picked up on some of the recommendations in the Massey scientists’ report.

“We’ve begun talking to local boat operators and iwi as part of an education and engagement programme. We will also be maintaining our moratorium on new commercial dolphin watching operations in the region and looking at strengthening local marine mammal regulations,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.

“DOC will continue working with all boat owners operating in the Bay of Islands - plus iwi and the wider community - to develop a co-ordinated and effective response to this issue,” says Sue Reed-Thomas.

Background information:

• Bottlenose dolphins are widely distributed around the world and at a global level the species is not considered endangered. However New Zealand’s resident bottlenose dolphin populations are relatively small and centred around coastal areas in the Bay of Islands, Fiordland and the north western South Island regions. There are believed to be less than 1000 bottlenose dolphins across these populations and in New Zealand they are classified as nationally endangered. For more information on bottlenose dolphins see:http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/dolphins/bottlenose-dolphin/

• Commercial operators require permits to run dolphin watching tours which set out specific conditions to protect dolphins from undue stress. General information about how all boat and vessel owners should behave around dolphins is available on DOC’s website: http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/sharing-our-coasts-with-marine-mammals/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Emission Statement: 'Consensus Reached' On Agriculture

Today the Government launched a consultation document, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand’s emissions.

Agricultural emissions make up nearly half of New Zealand’s total emissions profile and are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. More>>

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On What’s Wrong With Wellington

For many Wellingtonians, it hasn’t been the normal hardships – the workings of central government and the lousy weather – that have recently pushed their tolerance into the red zone. It has been the inability of local government to maintain even the basics. More>>

ALSO:

$1m Compensation Paid: First Gun Ban Event In Christchurch

The Police Minister says the first ever firearms collection event in Christchurch over the weekend was a huge success. But Stuart Nash had concerns about whether the participation reflected the number of weapons in the region. More>>

ALSO:

The Kids: Youth Parliament 2019 Event Kicks Off

120 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members have gathered in Wellington to attend the two-day Youth Parliament event ... More>>

Friends Like These: Foreign Minister To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. today for talks with senior members of the US Administration, and to attend the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Aussie Banks’ Latest Fee Hike Excuse

When the Reserve Bank sought feedback on its plans to require the country’s major banks to raise their capital reserves then you might have expected the banks to whine and complain. And so they have. More>>

ALSO:

Sitting On Defence: Terms Of Reference For Defence Estate Review

“The 81,000 hectare Defence estate is at a crossroads; much of it is run down, and outdated,” says Ron Mark. “It needs to be improved in order to gain, train and retain our service people, now and into the future." More>>

ALSO:

Meng Foon: Retiring Gisborne Mayor To Be Race Relations Commissioner

Andrew Little: “He has an outstanding record as a relationship builder and walks comfortably in the pākehā world, the Māori world, the Chinese community and other communities making up New Zealand." More>>

ALSO:

NCEA: Students Granted Qualifications After Fees Scrapped

Almost 150,000 current and former students with unpaid NCEA fees have today been formally awarded their NCEA credits or qualifications. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels