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Minister ignores overwhelming plea to save dolphin

16 April 2008

Minister ignores overwhelming plea to save dolphins

The Fisheries Minister should go to the beach and wave goodbye to the Hector's and Maui's dolphins, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

Mrs Turei says that even though 83 percent of New Zealanders want a set net ban to save the dolphins, the Minister of Fisheries is not even considering this option.

Mrs Turei's comments follow today's release of a Colmar Brunton poll which shows that 83 percent of respondents support a ban on set and trawl nets to protect the Maui and Hectors dolphins.

"Without the ban, a recent report for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has said the dolphin species cannot survive, but the Fisheries Minister is not even considering banning these lethal fishing methods," Mrs Turei says.

"Of the three options presented in the draft Threat Management Plan none will reduce fishing-related mortality to zero, which NIWA says must be achieved to save the species.

"We must have an option four which will ban set nets within the entire range of the dolphins, and require observers on all trawler vessels within that range, if not simply prohibit trawling.

"I urge the Government to look at the Colmar Brunton poll released today by WWF which shows that 83 percent of voters want set nets banned to give a chance of survival to this iconic species - and to give a shred of credibility for our 'clean green' international marketing image.

"A massive 83 percent proves that this is not the fringe issue the fishing industry would have us believe. Let's hope the Government takes note of the more than two million voters who want to save our dolphins.

"If the Government refuses to accept the proof and take urgent action on behalf of these dolphins, they will have the blood of an entire mammal species on their hands. The Minister's green wash must end now, because it is almost too late."

Mrs Turei will speak further on the issues during today's general debate in Parliament.


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