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Imaginative approach needed to set netting ban

Press Release 24 October 2001

Imaginative approach needed to set netting ban

Fishers need support in adapting to a set netting ban protecting North Island Hector’s dolphins, rather than a weaker ban which will further endanger the world’s rarest marine dolphin, says WWF.

WWF was responding to a government and fisheries agreement to weaken the proposed ban pending a judicial review in December.

“We understand that the fishers’ fear for their livelihoods”, says WWF’s Director of Conservation Chris Howe. “But giving inadequate protection to a critically endangered animal is not the answer to their concerns.”

“We’d like to see community, industry and government support for these fishers to restructure their operations, whether financial or in terms of expertise.”

“But the Ministry of Fisheries’ ban needs to be implemented intact, because there may be less than 100 North Island Hector’s dolphins left”, says Chris Howe. “Today’s announcement to temporarily weaken the ban is worrying, but it would be even worse if the judicial review in December overturned the ban – it could consign the North Island Hector’s dolphin to extinction.”

“In the first eight months of this year alone, three North Island Hector’s dolphins washed up dead with marks consistent with capture in set nets. That’s incredibly worrying given that just one unnatural dolphin death every five years could result in their extinction.”

“WWF reiterates its support of the Ministry of Fisheries’ comprehensive ban on set netting in most of the North Island Hector’s dolphin’s range.”

“Current protection for Hector’s dolphins is piecemeal and we hope the government will move quickly on its management plan for all Hector’s dolphins, nationwide, as soon as possible.”

For further information:
Megan Huber, Communications Manager
Tel: (04) 499-2930

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