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Illegal activity nets dolphins

23 February 2012

Illegal activity nets dolphins

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is appealing to the public for information about the deaths of two Hector's dolphins which have been found washed up on a beach in north Canterbury this week.

A member of the public found the dolphins, which were entangled in a fishing net, and reported the find to the Department of Conservation.

The use of set nets is banned under the Fisheries Act along the entire east coast of the South Island (out to four nautical miles) to protect the endangered Hector's dolphin, and it therefore appears that this incident is the result of illegal fishing activity.

MAF has taken possession of the bodies and the net, and has initiated an investigation.

"This is a very unfortunate incident," says Scott Gallacher, DDG with responsibility for Resource Management and Programmes.

"MAF would appreciate any information from the public about anyone using set nets in the area surrounding the Waimakariri River Mouth."

“Evidence suggests it is more likely to have been a recreational net than a commercial one.

"MAF appreciates the support provided by DOC and the member of the public who reported this incident."

The number to call with information about suspected illegal activity is: 0800 4 POACHER.

ENDS

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