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

 

NZ ignores calls to protect Maui’s dolphins from extinction

Press Release

For immediate release: 3rd September 2013

New Zealand ignores calls by international scientific institutions to protect Maui’s dolphins from extinction

In the past 15 months three international scientific bodies have repeatedly urged the New Zealand Government to protect the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins from extinction. But the calls by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) have fallen on deaf ears. Now the SMM, the pre-eminent body of international marine mammal scientists, issues its third appeal to the Government, stating that any further fishing-related deaths are unacceptable if Maui’s dolphins are to survive. The Society’s letter follows the announcement of proposals to slightly increase protection for Maui's dolphins, and the death of a Maui’s dolphin on the 13th September.
.
In a letter to New Zealand’s Minister for Conservation, Nick Smith, published last night, SMM’s President Helen Marsh acknowledges that effective protection measures will impact the local fishing industry. However, Prof. Marsh explains that “it will be necessary to reduce the risk of Maui's dolphins being caught in nets to zero” to pull them back from the brink of extinction. “This can only be done by extending the proposed netting closures to cover the entire range of the Maui's dolphin”, she adds. 



Fishing with gillnets and trawling poses the most serious threat to the dolphins’ survival. Forty years ago there were an estimated 1,800 Maui dolphins. Today there are just some 46 individuals aged one year and older. Because the population is so small, Maui’s dolphins can only survive a single death at human hands every 10 to 23 years. But fishing alone kills about five Maui's dolphins each year.

Current Government proposals would extend the ban on gillnets but not of the more lucrative trawl fishery in a small part of the dolphins’ range. “These plans are woefully inadequate ", says Thomas Tennhardt, CEO of German conservation group NABU International, which has been advocating effective protection for Maui’s dolphins for years. “If New Zealand continues to ignore the scientific community’s urgent recommendations, its environmental reputation is as much at risk as the dolphins’ survival."

Dr Liz Slooten who has studied the dolphins for 30 years says that “a small improvement to existing protection measures, such as the extension proposed by Conservation Minister Nick Smith, would have been helpful 20 or 30 years ago when there were still hundreds of Maui's dolphins. Now that we're down to 50 or so individuals we need to pull all the stops to avoid them going extinct”.

The New Zealand government has asked for public comments on its proposals by 10th October. NABU International has launched an online petition, which gives everyone the opportunity to participate in this consultation.

New Zealander and 15 times freedive world record holder William Trubridge is an active supporter of NABU International’s Maui’s dolphin campaign. The New Zealand freediving team even chose Maui's dolphins as their mascot while competing at the World Championships Greece in September.

"It was an honour for us to represent NZ and the Maui's Dolphin at the World Championships.  However with the Maui's species in such a critical state, then unless it is protected unequivocally throughout its range, we will soon lose this iconic species, and then it may no longer be an honour for us to represent our country."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Terror in NZ: Mosques Attacked in Christchurch

• There have been two attacks at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Masjid Mosque in the suburb of Linwood, Christchurch
• Police commissioner says 50 confirmed dead in Christchurch terrorist attacks. One man charged with murder appeared in court on Saturday, two more apprehended - working to understand their involvement
• PM Jacinda Ardern has described it as a "terrorist attack" by those holding extremist views. She says NZ's gun laws will change.
• The national security threat level has been increased from low to high.
• Commissioner Bush said there were explosive devices attached to one vehicle that were stopped by police and these have been made safe by Defence Force personnel.
More>>

For the Latest: Scoop Search - Christchurch

Parliament's Condolences: PM's Statement On Christchurch Mosques Terror Attack
Al salam Alaikum. Peace be upon you. And peace be upon all of us.
Mr Speaker the 15th of March will now forever be a day etched in our collective memories... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Government Shouldn't Run The Christchurch Massacre Inquiry
At Cabinet yesterday, the promised changes to our gun laws cleared their first hurdle. According to PM Jacinda Ardern, Cabinet agreed collectively “in principle” on a set of proposals to change New Zealand’s gun laws... Yesterday, Ardern also announced an inquiry into the background to the mosque attacks and into the role played by the SIS, GCSB, Police, Customs, and Immigration. More>>

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The School Climate Strike

Locally, the school strike has won a ton of support for bringing climate change to the fore. Yet the strikers don't want mere expressions of support. They want action. More>>

ALSO:

"Grabbed And Struck In The Face": Greens Co-Leader Attacked While Walking To Work

Green Party co-leader James Shaw was the victim of an unprovoked attack when he was walking to work in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

████████ ████ ███: Latest OIA Statistics Released

The latest statistics cover 110 agencies that collectively completed 18,106 official information requests between July and December 2018, a 16.4% increase on the 15,551 requests for the previous six months. More>>

ALSO:

'Hit And Run' Inquiry: New Legal Action Over Secrecy

The lawyer representing the Afghan villagers in the inquiry into Operation Burnham has launched legal proceedings calling for a judicial review in the investigation. More>>

ALSO:

From Hydro Plan To...: Mokihinui River Land To Join Kahurangi National Park

A total of 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. “Adding this area, roughly half the size of Auckland City, to Kahurangi is the largest addition of land to an existing national park in New Zealand’s history,” Eugenie Sage said. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels