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New Zealanders want to pay more to protect dolphins

New Zealanders want to pay more to protect dolphins

A report released this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders want Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins protected and they are prepared to pay for it.

The report was commissioned by the world’s largest international cetacean conservation organisation, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins are unique to New Zealand, with very slow breeding rates. Numbers are in rapid decline, due to destructive fishing methods - set netting and trawling.

Maui’s dolphins are now down to less than 15 breeding females and will be extinct in 15 years if the government refuses to take action.

WDC researcher Gemma McGrath explains, “The survey shows 80% of voters want greater protection put in place that safeguards our dolphins. And that’s 100% of our kids, our mokopuna.

“Maui and Hector’s are the fantails of the sea. Imagine if there were fewer than 50 fantails left?

“These dolphins are our kaitiaki, our guardians, as we are theirs.

“They are tohu; environmental indicators and they are telling us that something is not right within our inshore ecosystems. There are other ways to fish, and these wiser ways would add outstanding value to our economy, tourism industry and recreational fishing. We could stand on the beach and see our oceans teeming with life again, every day.”

WDC, other NGOs and scientists believe the best means of achieving protection for our dolphins is to make the switch to safer fishing methods for dolphins and establish a sanctuary in waters less than 100 metres deep throughout the dolphins’ range, with protection from seismic testing and sand mining.

“The really important finding from this study is that Kiwis are very prepared to pay extra for fish to allow non-destructive methods to be used. Once we enable the dolphins’ future – we empower ours.”


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