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Fishing industry urged to reduce dolphin deaths

23 December 2004

Fishing industry urged to reduce dolphin deaths in trawl nets in New Zealand waters

Jack mackerel mid-water trawlers are continuing to kill dolphins by fishing at times of high risk to dolphins, the Department of Conservation says.

Earlier this month representatives of the fishing industry and DOC agreed to work together to reduce dolphin deaths in mid-water trawl nets, after 15 dolphins had been drowned in mid-water trawl nets in the previous month in New Zealand waters.

The fishing industry announced on 3 December that mid-water trawlers would not fish between 2am and 4am, the time period during which, surveys have shown, most dolphins were caught.

“It is disappointing that at least one jack mackerel trawler continued to fish at the high risk time for dolphins, and as a result three common dolphins and six Risso’s dolphins have been caught since the industry’s commitment was made,” DOC conservation services manager Bob Zuur said today.

Risso’s dolphins are found in tropical and temperate regions of most oceans but have rarely been seen in the South Pacific. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List lists them as “data deficient”, meaning that very little is known about them. Pelorus Jack was a Risso’s dolphin.

ENDS

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