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Judicial Review Ruling Is A Disaster

The setting aside of a ban on commercial set netting in the range of the North Island Hector’s dolphin could spell extinction for this critically endangered species, according to WWF.

“WWF calls for the immediate implementation of section 16.1 of the Fisheries Act, which states that a fisheries ban may be imposed on an area “if there is a serious decline in the abundance and reproductive potential of a species’,” says WWF Chief Executive Jo Breese.

“Clearly the North Island Hector’s dolphin falls into this category.”

“We utterly reject Northern Inshore Fisheries’ proposal that their management plan remain as the only protection for North Island Hector’s dolphins. Three dolphins have died in the past three months under that plan, and only one was conclusively caught in a recreational set net. One human induced dolphin death every five years is the maximum allowable for regeneration of this species.”

“We need an immediate, complete ban on all set netting and pair trawling within the range of the North Island Hector’s dolphin.”

“The public has shown huge support for protecting North Island Hector’s dolphins in recent months - we have received many telephone calls and emails, especially from people on their coast.”

“WWF calls on members of the public to write to their MPs protesting the lack of protection for North Island Hector’s dolphins.”

“North Island Hector’s dolphins are internationally significant, not just a national icon. New Zealand prides itself on being clean, green and environmentally friendly, yet we let a very small number of fishers have the right of way when deciding the future of this critically endangered dolphin.”

ENDS

NOTES

- Because the situation for the North Island Hector’s dolphin is now very urgent, WWF is asking that the following steps be taken to ensure adequate protection:

- The Ministry of Fisheries immediately evokes emergency measures under the Fisheries Act (1996) to close the area from Maunganui Bluff to Pariokariwa Point to all set net fishing to 4 nautical miles - with this ban extended into harbours in this area

- Pair trawling is banned within the 4 nm zone in this area

- The existing trawling exclusion zone is extended from 1 nm to 2 nm

- A Marine Mammal Sanctuary is gazetted for this area

- Only one dolphin death in fisheries every five years will ensure population recovery; six have died in the past year.

- Three North Island Hector’s dolphins were killed in nets last month (February).

- North Island Hector’s dolphins are the world’s smallest, rarest marine dolphin. They are genetically distinct from the South Island populations and do not interbreed with them. They range from Pariokariwa Point near New Plymouth to Maunganui Bluff north of Dargaville, mostly within 4nm of land.

- WWF encourages members of the public to report sightings to the WWF Sightings and Strandings Network - 0800HECTORS and www.hectorsdolphin.org.nz .


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