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100, 99, 98, 97 Dolphins - Stop The Clock Now

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said it is likely that the Minister of Fisheries will reimpose a ban on set-netting on the West Coast of the North Island, after the initial ban was over-turned by a court judgement today.

"The clock is running down for the North Island Hector's dolphins - only 100, 99, 98, 97 left. It's time to stop the clock, and the only way to do this is to stop set-netting in their habitat once and for all."

Ms Fitzsimons said industry interpretation of the court judgement to show that dolphin deaths through set-netting would not adversely affect the population was 'complete and utter nonsense'.

"The ban was set aside on a technicality, not because set-netting is safe for Hectors dolphins," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The equation is very simple. We know that set-netting kills Hectors dolphins - in fact three have died as casualties of set-netting in the last month. The population is already extremely fragile, there are less than a hundred left in the North Island, so any more human-caused deaths could destroy any hope of bringing them back from the brink.

"When the Minister has reconsidered the ban, he should make the same decision again, unless he wants to condemn the North Island Hector's dolphin to extinction."

Ms Fitzsimons said adopting a limited ban proposed by the industry would be like setting traps for the remaining dolphins.

"In fact, the deaths of the three dolphins last month indicates that the set-net ban should be extended to river mouths and harbour mouths, and I hope the Minister will look at doing that when he re-examines the situation."


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