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Fishing community stands up to extremist set net ban calls

9 March 2012

For immediate release

Local fishing community stands up to extremist calls for complete set net ban

The Taranaki fishing community has come out strongly against conservationists’ campaigns to extend the current set net ban in relation to Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins.

“The local fishing community is an easy target for extremists to call for a complete set net ban in Taranaki to save the dolphins, yet there is simply not enough factual information about these species to make a call on this,” says Keith Mawson, Managing Director of Egmont Seafoods Limited.

“It’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut,” says Mr Mawson. “Fishing is one factor but industry and government have already taken extensive measures to address this. What about all the other known factors including disease, pollution and natural predators such as sharks and orcas?”

There has only been one reported fishing-related mortality death of a Hector’s/Maui’s dolphin in the Taranaki area in the last 25 years and this was reported in January 2012.

“Why would you put a fishing community’s livelihood completely at risk without having all the facts on hand?

“We are concerned that Government is being pressured to make a call that will not deliver the results we all want, which is a thriving dolphin population.”

Mr Mawson said that the Taranaki fishing community met with DOC and MAF last week and urged them to work with the industry and other parties to gather more information.

“At the moment the Department of Conservation has no recovery plan in place and has done little research on dolphins in the Taranaki area. The plan and research are urgently needed,” says Mr Mawson.

Peter Bodeker, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Seafood Council was also present at the Taranaki meeting and said the fishing community wanted to assist in information gathering, including working with government agencies to look at ways of identifying and tagging the marine mammals.

Ends

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