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Photographic evidence of dolphin deaths

Hon Jim Anderton Minister of Fisheries
Hon Steve Chadwick Minister of Conservation

18 March 2008 Med

Photographic evidence of dolphin deaths

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick has today released photographs of dead dolphins killed in trawl nets in December.

As announced in January, 22 common dolphins died after being caught in nets in December, off the west coast of the North Island. Four boats trawling for jack mackerel were involved.

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick says the photographs are horrific and deeply upsetting.

?It is not uncommon for dolphins to be captured in nets in this way, but it is unusual to have such a high number of reported incidental deaths in just one month. That alone is concerning ? we would normally expect fewer than twenty deaths reported in an entire year.?

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton is urging all fishers to minimise the accidental capture of dolphins during trawl fishing, by following the voluntary Marine Mammal Operating Procedure.

?This requires vessels that spot dolphins to move away from the fishing area to lessen the likelihood of capturing more dolphins. This initiative is currently under review by a technical working group which includes DOC and MFish representatives, to see how it could work better.

The Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries are working together to investigate why so many dolphins died in this short time, and how dolphin-safe fishing practices can be improved.


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