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Seafood Industry Leading Hectors Dolphin Campaign

Press Release
16/12/99


SEAFOOD INDUSTRY LEADING THE WAY IN CAMPAIGN TO SAVE HECTORS DOLPHINS


The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council urges the Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee to keep an open mind on ways to develop effective programmes to enhance the dolphin population.

Science and Policy Manager Michael Harte said the industry had been working closely with the Department of Conservation and international dolphin experts, to put in place effective programmes to reduce the numbers of dolphins caught in nets off the South Island.

There was also a research programme underway in the North Island to assess if commercial set netters were having any impact on Hectors Dolphins.

The inshore fishermen on the east coast of the South Island have put in place a voluntary programmes which involve the attachment of acoustic pingers designed to warn the dolphins of the net danger .

" Although it is too early to get any hard scientific evidence that the pingers are working, the anecdotal evidence indicates that the devices are proving an effective deterrent to the dolphins."

"Fishermen around the country are keen to do what they can to avoid any impact their activities may have on Hectors dolphins. They also provide the only real opportunity for day in day out observation of the Hectors Dolphin population."

However Dr Harte said there was some concern that there were more effective ways to manage the population without the need for the imposition of the threatened species status.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Conservation on this issue to ensure the best outcome for the dolphins and the industry."

ENDS

For further information contact:

SeaFIC Science and Policy Manager Dr Micheal Harte Ph 025 498 087 or Communications Manager Tina Nixon 025 2232789


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