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Dolphins need protection over summer - Greens

Dolphins need protection over summer - Greens

The Minister of Fisheries has delivered a blow to the critically endangered Maui's dolphins and to the thousands of people who made submissions on the Dolphin Management Plan, the Green Party say.

By delaying a decision on the dolphin species and opting for business as usual over the crucial summer period, the Fisheries Minister is exposing the Maui's dolphin to the potential risks posed by summertime recreational fishers.

"I agree that careful consideration must be given to all submissions, but a four month delay does not place any value on the importance of the species' survival," Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"The Minister needs to recognise that the best way to honour the effort people have put into their submissions is to resolve the Maui's dolphin question with urgency.

"New Zealand has a sad history of letting the horse bolt before we shut the gate. It would be wonderful to see the Minister put in place interim measures to protect the dolphins so we can all enjoy our summer, knowing that our recreational pursuits will not be further endangering the species.

"It is not acceptable for the Minister to promise that if a fishing related death occurs he will then put in place measures to protect the dolphins. One more death will be one too many. Measures should be enacted now, not after the species becomes unviable."

Scientists have estimated that there are only 50 breeding Maui's dolphin females left, and that the death of one of them may spell the end of the species.

ENDS

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