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Dolphin plan fails to guarantee species' survival

29 May 2008

Dolphin plan fails to guarantee species' survival

The Maui's and Hector's Threat Management Plan announced by the Minister of Fisheries today has failed to guarantee the survival of these endangered species, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"For Maui's survival to be guaranteed there must not be even one death from human causes, yet the marine mammal sanctuary and set net bans do not extend through the whole dolphin range along the coast, nor out to the full 100m depth that Maui's frequent.

"Far from being 'carefully designed to achieve the best possible outcome for the dolphins', the plan stops well short of providing the necessary protection for these gravely threatened dolphins by accommodating for economic interests in the dolphin habitat.

"'Striking a balance' between the dolphins and set-net fishing is not acceptable when the populations are so critically low," Mrs Turei says.

"The public has been quite clear that the dolphins' long term survival must take precedence over short term fishing industry interests, with 83 percent supporting a set-net ban in a recent poll.

"The tireless work of conservation groups and regular pressure from the Green Party has at the very least seen the Minister accept parts of the best option presented in the draft management plan. However, we have always made it clear that even that option fails to guarantee the survival of the species.

"We welcome the government in large part standing up to the fishing industry and taking a step forward on behalf of the dolphins, but their proposed measures are too little, far too late, and fall short of guaranteeing the dolphins' long-term survival.

"It remains to be seen if these half-pie measures are enough to avoid criticism at the International Whaling Commission meeting in two weeks' time, but it seems clear that pressure from thousands of New Zealanders, international conservation groups and the Green Party have had an impact on improving today's Management Plan."


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