Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Fishing threatens rare dolphins in tourist hotspot

Fishing threatens rare dolphins in tourist hotspot: Otago study
Friday 5 July 2013

New research by University of Otago scientists has shown that the Hector’s dolphin, an endangered species found only in New Zealand, is more at risk from amateur fishing in Akaroa Harbour than had been thought.

Akaroa harbour is the largest harbour on Banks Peninsula, near Christchurch. It is home to a valuable dolphin-watching industry, which takes visitors to see and swim with Hector’s dolphins.

The team, comprising dolphin experts Professor Steve Dawson, Associate Professor Liz Slooten, and statistician Associate Professor David Fletcher, moored three “T-POD” acoustic devices in the inner, middle and outer parts of Akaroa Harbour. The devices logged the high-frequency echo-location signals of Hector’s dolphins over an entire year.

“Because Hector’s dolphin echo-location clicks are very different from those of other dolphins in New Zealand, we can tune the T-PODs to detect them specifically,” Prof Dawson said.

He says previously it was thought that Hector’s dolphins were present in the inner harbour only in summer.

“Because of this, amateur fishers were given a concession allowing them to set unattended set nets in this area for seven months of the year (1 April - 30 September). The nets, made of nylon mesh, can entangle dolphins and prevent them from surfacing for air,” he says.
The devices have a small detection radius, of about 200 metres. Despite this representing less than 1% of the inner harbour area, Hector’s dolphins were detected on 41% of the days during the recreational fishing concession period when set nets could be used.

“This shows that dolphins use this area much more regularly that previously thought, and that the concession offered to amateur gillnetters is not safe for the dolphins,”  he says.

“A crucial problem for Hector’s dolphins is that in several key areas the protection does not match the dolphins’ distribution. The new research shows this is true in Akaroa Harbour, but it is also true offshore around Banks Peninsula, where aerial surveys have shown that the dolphins range much further offshore than the protection extends. A large part of that population is essentially unprotected.”

The research also revealed how the dolphins use the harbour varies with location, season, time of day and tide. The research was published yesterday in the scientific journal Endangered Species Research.
http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v21/n1/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

What Winter? Temperature Records Set For June 20-22

The days around the winter soltice produced a number of notably warm tempertaures. More>>

Conservation Deal: New Kākāpō Recovery Partnership Welcomed

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the new kakapo recovery partnership between DOC and Meridian Energy is great news for efforts to save one of New Zealand’s most beloved birds. More>>

ALSO:

Tech Sector Report: Joyce Warns Asian Tech Investors View NZ As Hobbits And Food

Speaking in Wellington at the launch of a report showcasing the value of the technology sector to the New Zealand economy, Joyce said more had to be done to tell the country's technology stories overseas. More>>

ALSO:

Mediaglommeration: APN Gets OIO Approval For Demerger Plan

APN News & Media has received Overseas Investment Office approval for its plan to split out its NZME unit ahead of a potential merger with rival Fairfax Media's New Zealand operations. More>>

New Paper: Ninety-Day Trial Period Has No Impact On Firms' Hiring

The introduction of a 90-day trial period has had no impact on hiring by New Zealand companies although they are now in widespread use, according to researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: Serco Exits Equity Stake, Remains As Operator

Serco has sold its equity stake in the company that holds the contract to design, build and run Wiri Prison in South Auckland but continues as sub-contractor to operate the facility. More>>

GDP: NZ Economy Grows Faster-Than-Forecast 0.7%

New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the first quarter of 2016 as construction expanded at the quickest rate in two years. The kiwi dollar jumped after the data was released. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news