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Fishers make extraordinary move to save Māui dolphins

Fishers make extraordinary move to save Māui dolphins

Environmental organisation WWF-New Zealand today hailed the commitment on Māui dolphin protection led by two New Zealand commercial fishing companies as ground breaking.

Today, Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited announced their commitment to the goal of removing fishing-related threats across the entire Māui dolphin range, so that this critically endangered species can rebound and expand.

"This commitment by Sanford and Moana is a truly ground breaking and inspiring move," said WWF-New Zealand’s Head of Campaigns, Peter Hardstaff.

“These companies are supporting a lasting solution for Māui dolphins and demonstrating leadership by taking voluntary actions to reduce the fishing threats to these amazing animals."

The voluntary actions announced by the companies include: withdrawing annual catch entitlement to set net fishers north of New Plymouth by October 2017; and investing in trialling alternative dolphin-safe fishing methods to replace conventional trawling within six years (by the end of 2022).

"This leadership is vital, but Sanford and Moana cannot remove the fishing threats on their own because there are many other fishers operating in Māui habitat,” Mr Hardstaff said.

WWF urges the government to publicly support this commitment and assist fishers to transition to dolphin-safe methods throughout the Māui dolphin range.

“This is a conservation emergency requiring concerted and collaborative action – it is essential that the NZ government engages with Moana and Sanford and other fishers on the North Island’s west coast,” Mr Hardstaff said.

"We urge all political parties to get behind this initiative and support a lasting solution so that the Māui dolphin population can be saved from extinction.”

ends

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