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New measure not enough to stop Maui’s extinction

New measure not enough to stop Maui’s extinction 

(Wellington, New Zealand) The world’s smallest and rarest marine dolphins are still on the path to extinction after the New Zealand government announced limited measures to protect Maui’s dolphins, warns global conservation organisation, WWF.

“John Key’s Government has not gone far enough. They have ignored the science which clearly shows that taking nets out of Maui’s waters across their entire habitat is needed to stop them from going extinct," said WWF-New Zealand Head of Campaigns, Peter Hardstaff.

The Threat Management Plan for Maui’s (TMP) announced tonight, extends protection  for the remaining 55 Maui’s dolphins by 350 square kilometres but does not ban set netting throughout their habitat.

“The Government needs to do more, and quickly. Prime Minister John Key should listen to the majority of New Zealanders and introduce full protection measures for our treasured dolphins before it is too late," said Mr Hardstaff.

Polling shows that more than 3 out of 4 New Zealanders support expanding the ban on set-nets to cover the entire area where Maui’s dolphins live. 

Over 70,000 submissions were received on the TMP consultation. The vast majority of which were in favour of protection for Maui’s across their entire range.  More than 30,000 emails from WWF supporters in New Zealand and around the world were sent directly to PM John Key urging him to save Maui’s.
The Goverment's proposal for limited extension of the set net ban from Pariokariwa Point  to Waiwhakaiho River recevied 45,000 submissions the vast majority of which said it did not go far enough.
 
“The Government has ignored the public and come up with a poorly conceived ‘balancing’ act that fails both fishers and dolphins.  The science shows we can’t afford any more Maui’s deaths in nets.



“The Government has an obligation to help fishing communities to transition to dolphin-friendly fishing practices, rather than use them as an excuse for Government inaction."

“Extinction not only means the loss of a special animal it could also tarnish New Zealand’s reputation and damage the image of our NZ$1.56 billion fishing export industry. ”

WWF believes that only a genuine sanctuary, prohibiting harmful fishing practices and placing a moratorium on risky marine mining activities, from Maunganui Bluff to the Whanganui river mouth, including harbours, out to 100 metres deep off the coastline can save Maui’s dolphins.  

This position is drawn from the recommendations and analysis of the International Whaling Commission, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the Risk Assessment Panel of scientists that the Government convened to provide advice on measures need to save Maui’s dolphins. 

ENDS

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