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WWF welcomes industry’s initiative to save Dolphin

Press Release For immediate release - 18 September 2000


WWF welcomes industry’s initiative to save NI Hector’s Dolphin

Earlier this month, Northern Inshore Fisheries Company released their “Proposal for Managing the Interaction between the Set Net Fishery and North Island Hector’s Dolphin”. The report sets out a number of initiatives geared towards saving the North Island Hector’s Dolphin from extinction. This week, the Northern Inshore Fisheries Company is holding workshops on the proposal in Auckland and Wellington. The workshops are open to all interested parties, who will be given the opportunity to comment on the proposal.

The proposal is an industry-driven initiative, but is the direct result of a WWF-sponsored workshop held in May 2000, which included commercial and recreational fishers, academics, conservation organisations, Iwi and other interested stakeholders. The role WWF played in bringing the stakeholders together in this forum was the catalyst for this latest report.

WWF-New Zealand's Conservation Director Eric Pyle said, "The May workshop really bought home to the fishermen the urgency and seriousness of the situation, and the possible repercussions of failing to act."

He said this latest proposal represented a shift in attitude for commercial fishers, and could go a long way toward helping to achieve zero bycatch of North Island Hector's Dolphin. “WWF is really pleased to see the industry recognising the critical plight of the North Island Hector’s Dolphin and trying to save them proactively,” he said.

WWF is launching a "Sightings and Strandings Network" in November which calls on local communities to provide information on the range and behaviours of the dolphins in these areas. WWF are also working on other North Island Hector's Dolphin initiatives, including a proposed collaboration with the fishing industry and DoC to fund further research on the North Island Hector's Dolphin. The research would be carried out by Auckland University and involves the DNA profiling/“genetic fingerprinting” of individual dolphins.

There are only about 100 North Island Hector's Dolphins left, living along the west coast of the North Island from Mokau to Dargaville. It is thought that set-netting, by commercial and recreational fishers, is to blame for the declining numbers.

Workshop timetable:
Wellington 19 September Auckland 21 September
The Terrace Conference Centre Trophy Room
Room 4, Level 3 Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Dalmuir House Westhaven Drive
114 The Terrace Auckland

For further information:
Anna Thomson, Communications Manager, (04) 499 2930, anna.thomson@wwf.org.nz

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