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Time To Stop The Dolphin Extinction

15 November 2007

Time To Stop The Dolphin Extinction - Before It's Too Late

With Maui's dolphin numbers at perilous levels the Green Party is imploring the Government to heed the pleas of the 32,000 who signed a WWF petition to stop their extinction.

The petition, asking for initiatives to save Hector's and Maui's dolphins, was presented to Parliament today by 111 school children - one child to represent each of the estimated remaining Maui's dolphins, Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"It's thought that there were about 29,000 Hector's dolphins in the 1970s, but now there's only about 8000 left.

"The fishing industry has tried to shirk responsibility for its part in the deaths but, the statistics on Hector's Dolphin mortality clearly shows that nearly two-thirds of deaths, where cause of death is able to be established, were caused by set nets.

"We would like to see the Fisheries and Conservation Ministers give serious consideration to the requests of the petitioners.

The Stop Their Extinction petition calls on the Government to: Implement an effective action plan for the recovery of the species; Introduce a total ban on set nets within New Zealand territorial waters (out to 12 nautical miles); Introduce a total ban on trawling in nearshore waters shallower than 100 meters in depth; Identify, manage and mitigate all other potential threats to Hector's and Maui's to ensure their future survival and recovery.

The Green Party has been putting up posters offering a reward to the public for writing to the Conservation and Fisheries Ministers and urging them to impose a set net ban. The reward is "once again seeing this dolphin swimming in waters around Wellington".

ENDS

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