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'Code of conduct' will not protect Maui’s dolphin

29 March 2005

''Code of conduct'' will not protect Maui’s dolphin

The Conservation Minister’s statement today that his department is developing a “Code of Conduct” to protect marine mammals from the effects of mining is tantamount to allowing the extinction of the world’s most endangered dolphin.

“Maui’s dolphin is the most critically endangered dolphin worldwide,” Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said. “The Government needs to make it clear that it will not tolerate its extinction.”

The Energy Ministry is considering an application to mine 3617 square kilometres of seabed from Taranaki to Kaipara Harbour from Black Sands Exploration, an Australian subsidiary of the Chinese company Best Quality of Life Group

“The proposal by Black Sands to mine iron sand encompasses the entire habitat of Maui’s dolphin,” Ms Fitzsimons said. “It is likely that fewer than 100 individuals of this beautiful, friendly mammal still exist.

“Conservation Minister Chris Carter’s claim that his department is setting up a code of conduct is cold comfort for Maui’s dolphin. It is absurd to suggest that large-scale dredging of the seafloor - with associated disruption of its food sources and pollution of its habitat and breeding grounds – could ever proceed, without sending Maui’s dolphin on its way to extinction.

“Whether there is a strict Code of Conduct or not, any mining of this area will likely kill off Maui’s dolphin. The Government needs to make crystal-clear that it will not countenance this slaughter, and therefore that it will be rejecting Black Sands’ application.”

ENDS

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