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WWF responds to Minister’s ‘challenge’ on Maui’s dolphins

For immediate release, 11th June 2014, 14.45hrs

WWF responds to Minister’s ‘challenge’ on Maui’s dolphins

In response to Conservation Minister Nick Smith’s challenge on National Radio today to “show me the Maui’s” and present evidence on Maui’s dolphin sightings, WWF has re-released its paper to the IWC Scientific Committee on the latest evidence regarding Maui’s range.

Commenting on the Minister’s statements today on Morning Report, WWF Head of Campaigns Peter Hardstaff said,

“WWF’s paper to the IWC Scientific Committee sets out the latest credible information on the range of Maui’s dolphins. The IWC experts have reviewed all available evidence and concluded that protection should be extended. The Minister is choosing to disregard this scientific opinion.”

The WWF paper submitted to the committee, Addressing gaps in management approach and protection of the world’s rarest marine dolphin, highlighted that the government has extended protection on the basis of some sightings but has left areas unprotected where there have been equally credible sightings. The paper was considered at the committee’s 65th meeting which concluded in Slovenia on May 24.

Mr Hardstaff continued, “The Latest and most reliable evidence suggests there are only 55 of these dolphins left over the age of one. It is not surprising that sightings are rare. By demanding further sightings towards the edge of the dolphin’s range, or evidence of dolphin deaths, the Minister is setting the bar too high to take further action.

“We can’t afford to lose more Maui’s - we need to do the maximum possible, rather than the minimum we can get away with. This will affect fishing but we can’t expect fishing communities to shoulder all of the responsibility. Ensuring the survival of Maui’s is a responsibility for every New Zealander. On our behalf, we call on the government to work with fishing communities on the west coast of the north island to transition away from fishing methods that can harm Maui’s.”

Notes:

WWF’s paper to the IWC Scientific Committee can be found at:
http://awsassets.wwfnz.panda.org/downloads/sc_65b_sm___palka___leslie.pdf

A copy of the IWC Scientific Committee’s report can be found at:
https://archive.iwc.int/pages/search.php?search=%21collection73&offset=0&order_by=relevance&sort=DESC&archive=0&go=up&k=

The IWC Scientific Committee report will be formally submitted to the International Whaling Commission at its meeting in Slovenia from 11 to 14 September this year which will then decide whether to formally adopt these recommendations in their final recommendation report.

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