Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

New protection for dolphins not enough says WWF

Press Release Thursday 29 May 2008

New protection for dolphins - good first step, but not enough for dolphin recovery, says WWF

WWF has welcomed today's decision from the Government to bring in new protection for Hector's and Maui's dolphins as a 'good first step' but says there is much further to go to save the species.

"Today's decision is a strong move by Jim Anderton. We're very encouraged to see action to manage the main threats that have caused Hector's and Maui's dolphins decline," says WWF's Marine Programme Manager Rebecca Bird. "After more than four years of sustained WWF campaigning for their protection, today's decision gives Hector's and Maui's dolphins a fighting chance for survival."

However, WWF and dolphin scientists are deeply concerned that the new measures don't go far enough to allow dolphins to recover, saying the likely impact will be keeping dolphin numbers static at current depleted levels.

Liz Slooten, Associate Professor and dolphin scientist at Otago University said: "These protection measures seem designed to hold populations are current, depleted level, rather than at population recovery. Despite the fact that recovery to non-threatened status is specifically required under the MMPA, the word 'recovery' is not used anywhere in the Minister's statement."

"It means the dolphins are still vulnerable to extinction," says WWF's Rebecca Bird. "When you're dealing with the world's rarest dolphin you can't go for half measures in the face of extinction."

WWF is campaigning for full protection for Hector's and Maui's dolphins, including a set net and trawl fishing ban, so they can recover to their former abundance and distribution.

WWF states the Government's new measures mean:
• Maui's dolphins remain unprotected throughout their full range. The new measures that extend the set net ban into harbour entrances is a positive move. However Maui's remain unprotected within harbours and consequently are still at risk from drowning in fishing nets here. The Government has failed to act on WWF sightings information and scientific acoustic pod data that indicates Maui's range further inside harbours.
• Maui's remain unprotected in the southern extent of their current alongshore range, in the Taranaki region, despite this being critical habitat for the dolphins.
• Extending set net bans further off shore to 7 nautical miles is positive for the dolphins, however the trawl fishing ban does not go far enough and involves a complex set of management measures. WWF is deeply concerned that the government will have difficulty enforcing measures and monitoring compliance, despite the extensive increase in observer coverage also announced.
• The west coast population of Hector's dolphins come off worst. The government's focus appears to be on protecting core populations that are deemed to be the most at risk. Hector's dolphins along the west coast are not protected at all from trawl fishing and only given limited protection from set nets. This means dolphins will continue to die in fishing nets in this region.
• Around the South Island south coast, dolphins remain unprotected from set nets in harbours, estuaries and inlets and it's unclear what the government's intentions are regarding trawl fishing in this area, which indicates it will remain a key threat in this region.
• South Island east coast protection measures are vague - again it is unclear whether trawl fishing gear restrictions will be adequate to ensure dolphins do not get caught and whether set net restrictions will be extensive enough. This is particularly of concern around the Kaikoura region.

"We're heartened by the Government's concerted effort to protect our dolphins, but this is just a first step," says WWF's Rebecca Bird. "We challenge the government now to produce a species recovery plan that is futuristic and visionary - addressing some of the threats is simply not enough. We want a future where Hector's and Maui's dolphins are abundant throughout their natural range. It's a question of national pride, saving a species for the next generation, and the opportunity to show the world we live up to our clean green image and we're 100% committed to protecting the world's rarest dolphin."

"The acting Conservation Minister today announced four new marine mammal sanctuaries - again, a step in the right direction, but it is unclear what level of protection these will offer, so we will be seeking clarification," she added.

"Sadly Ministers haven't extended the Banks Peninsula marine mammal sanctuary, despite extensive science that shows this would offer significant protection and benefits for the species' survival. This measure would also benefit the dolphin tourism industry that sustains the local economy, an industry which nationally contributes an estimated $24million per year to the New Zealand economy."

To find out more about WWF's campaign to save Hector's and Maui's dolphins, go to www.stoptheirextinction.org.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Another Leader Exiting: Statement From Peter Dunne

I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter...

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. More>>

 
 

Shiny And Chrome: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election