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Hector’s and Maui Dolphin Threat Plan Action needs more work

The government’s proposals to protect Maui and Hector’s dolphin are far too weak, are over- complicated, and do not include proposals for dolphin protection to the 100m countour that have been endorsed by many including international organisations, the Environment and Conservation Organisations says in reponse to the proposed dolphic threat management plan, issued today.

ECO spokesperson, Barry Weeber said it was disappointing that DoC and the Ministry of Primary Industries ( MPI) had failed to put forward comprehensive options that could protect Maui and Hector’s dolphn.

“Only one of the Maui dolphin options gets close to comprehensive protection (Option 4) but fails to include the full range of measures that have been endorsed by the Internation Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and by the International Whaling Commission). Set nets and trawling should be prohibited out to 100m contour so that the dolphins do not go extinct and have a chance to recover.”

“The Hector’s dolphin options are a mishmash of proposals with none getting close to adequate protection. There are few changes of substance to measures for the vulnerable populations south of Dunedin in the Catlins and Te Waewae Bay.”

“It seems the proposal continues a process of creating marine mammal sanctuaries with little substance. It is time these areas prohibited fishing that threaten the dolphins and prohibited all mineral activity as well.”

“Seismic surveys and seabed mining should be banned, for all, including existing permit-holders, in the dolphins’ ranges. Why is the government giving in to the oil and gas and mineral miners? Why should they have exemptions that could tip our dolphins into extinction?”

The proposals look as though some officials have set up the Ministers to fail to protect the dolphins or have just given in to fishing and mining interests. We must do better than these proposals if we are to stop these animals going extinct. Extinction could be avoided but these proposals will not do it.”

New Zealand needs to act with urgency to protect critically endangered Maui dolphin and endangered Hector’s dolphin, and that means protection from fishing, mining and seismic activity out to 100m depth contour.”

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