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Dolphin Deaths Alarming - Emergency Action Needed


21 February 2002 - Wellington

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

dolphin deaths alarming - Emergency Action needed on Set nets

Forest and Bird is calling for emergency action to ban set nets on the West Coast of the North Island to protect Hector's dolphin after two were killed in a week by set nets.

Forest and Bird Senior Researcher, Barry Weeber said the deaths of two dolphin in set nets in a week is a disaster for the dolphins and Ministers must take emergency action under the Fisheries Act to protect the dolphins. "These dolphins are on the brink of extinction with only 100 estimated left."

"Already this year three dolphins have died - most likely drowned in set-nets. Even one dolphin death per year from fishing could drive the population to extinction," said Mr Pyle. "Set-netting poses a real threat to the dolphins. It must stop."

"This high level of human induced mortality cannot be sustained by a slow breeding species such as Hector's Dolphin.

"Unless set nets are outlawed throughout the dolphin's range, the recent increased protection of Hector's Dolphin under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 will not be enough to save the dolphins.".

"Forest and Bird called on the fishing industry to support emergency action. Rather than fighting the Minister of Fisheries, the fishing industry should work to save the world's rarest marine dolphin."

For more information on the impact of set nets, please see www.forest-bird.org.nz/marine/fish_impacts

Note: The fishing industry court case against measures taken last year on the West Coast of the North Island was heard earlier this week in the High Court.

Barry Weeber Senior Researcher Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society PO Box 631 Wellington New Zealand Phone 64-4-385-7374 Fax 64-4-385-7373 www.forest-bird.org.nz


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