Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Holidaying set netters kill four Hector's Dophins

Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Fisheries
Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation

4 November 2005 Media Release

Holidaying set netters kill four endangered Hector's Dophins

"It is appalling that fishers on holiday in South Westland have killed four endangered Hector's Dolpins in their set nets without showing any concern for their actions," Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton and Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

On Sunday 30 October a member of the public discovered four dead Hector's dolphins tangled in a set net on a remote section of Neil's Beach near Haast. He photographed the scene and reported the incident to the Department of Conservation (DOC) on Tuesday this week.

DOC West Coast/Tai Poutini Conservancy staff investigating the incident determined that the dolphins had been cut from the net and left discarded on the beach. There was no sign of the net when DOC staff arrived on the scene.

On speaking to the fishers responsible on Wednesday 2 November, DOC investigators were told that deteriorating weather during the weekend had prevented them from retrieving the net. The fishers claimed they were unaware their net had killed four Hector's dolphins.

DOC's West Coast marine expert Don Neale said that as he was speaking to the fishers they were busily preparing another set net for fishing, and they did not seem to be concerned about the dolphins their previous net had already killed.

The killing of dolphins in a set net is not an offence under the Marine Mammal Proection Act 1978, but it is an offence to fail to report such incidents.

Ministers were informed of the incident yesterday.

"This is clearly a case of irresponsible fishing. They left a set net unattended in one of New Zealand's best known Hector's Dolphin habitats just 200 meters from shore. Fisheries guidelines on set netting clearly state that someone should remain close by and keep a watch over the net," Jim Anderton said.

"If they had done this, then they would have been on hand to free the dolphins caught in the net. They should have also been on hand to remove the set net before the weather became an issue.

"Nets set by recreational fishers are one of the biggest threats to Hector's dolphins. I encourage anyone using set nets to familiarise themselves with the Set Net Code of Practice, which is on the Ministry of Fisheries website:," Jim Anderton said.

Hector's dolphins are one of the world's rarest dolphin species and is found only in New Zealand waters. It is the world's smallest marine dolphin. The West Coast of the South Island is home to around 5400, or three-quarters of the total remaining population of 7200 in New Zealand.

“A total population figure of 7200 may look reasonable, but Hector’s dolphins have a low rate of reproduction. Females need to reach eight years before they can give birth and then they then produce around five calves over an average lifetime of 20 years,” Chris Carter said.

“This incredibly low reproduction rate is just sufficient for the population to replace itself. It is not sufficient to cope with human-caused deaths. It is essential that fishers act responsibly to help us conserve and protect the Hector's dolphins,” the Minister of Conservation said.

The Government is working on a Threat Management Plan, run jointly by DOC and the Ministry of Fisheries in conjunction with an Advisory Group. The aim is to better define threats to all dolphin populations and how to best manage those threats, including those posed by recreational set net fishing.

"Everyone is keen to get this plan underway so we can better protect the Hector's dolphin. While we prefer to use voluntary measures, if they don't work we may have to consider regulation," Jim Anderton said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>


MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>


Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>


Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>





Featured InfoPages