Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Set Net Ban To Protect NI Hector's Dolphin

Set Net Ban To Protect North Island Hector's Dolphin


The Minister of Fisheries, Hon Pete Hodgson, has announced new management measures aimed at ensuring the survival of the critically endangered North Island Hector’s dolphin population.

All amateur and commercial set netting is to be prohibited within four nautical miles of the coast from Maunganui Bluff (north of Dargaville) to Pariokariwa Point (north of New Plymouth). The harbours are not included in the closed area.

A comprehensive observer programme will be implemented on all trawlers and Danish seine vessels fishing in the area closed to set netting.

"Available scientific information suggests there may be as few as 100 Hector’s dolphin left," Mr Hodgson said. "Modelling indicates that the population may eventually decline to extinction if the bycatch rate is more than one dolphin in a five year period. If we are going to save this species from extinction I see no realistic alternative to a ban on set netting in its habitat waters."

Mr Hodgson consulted Conservation Minister Sandra Lee on the proposed area closure, as required by the Fisheries Act, and received her support.

"Hector's dolphin is an endemic New Zealand species that is one of the world's rarest dolphins," Ms Lee said. "In December 1999 I declared it to be a threatened species under the provisions of the Marine Mammals Protection Act. The North Island population is genetically distinct from the South Island populations and is not known to interbreed with them. It would be a national tragedy if North Island Hector's dolphins vanished from the coastal waters they have inhabited for tens of thousands of years."

Three North Island Hector's dolphin have been found dead on beaches this year, two at Kariotahi Beach and one at Port Waikato. Pathology reports indicate that two of these deaths are likely to have been due to fishing. The third report was inconclusive due to the decomposition of the carcass. The Ministry of Fisheries considers that all three deaths are likely to have been due to set netting.

Mr Hodgson said he realised the ban on set netting would affect the livelihoods of some commercial fishers. The Ministry of Fisheries has estimated that up to 23 commercial fishers use set nets in the affected area, to varying degrees.

“With the North Island Hector’s dolphin population at a critically endangered level, I have to adopt a precautionary approach.
But I hope the affected fishers are able to restructure their operations so that they can continue fishing, either with other methods or in other areas.”

Mr Hodgson said that although there was relatively little recreational set netting on the open North Island West Coast outside the harbours, amateur set nets clearly had the potential to catch Hector’s dolphin and could not be exempted from the ban.

Trawling and Danish seining are likely to present a lower risk to Hector's dolphin, but more information is needed about the impact of these methods. Mr Hodgson said a comprehensive monitoring programme on trawlers and Danish seiners would be implemented by industry. The programme would include an independent observer on all trawl and Danish seine vessels operating within the 4 nautical mile restricted area. The 100 percent observer coverage would continue for five years.

The Ministry of Fisheries will conduct an annual review with stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of the observer programme.

North Island Hector’s dolphins are generally found within four nautical miles of the open exposed coastline. Mr Hodgson said at this stage he did not consider it necessary to close the area inside harbour entrances to set netting, as Hector's dolphin have rarely been sighted in harbour waters. More and better information is expected to become available in future on the extent to which the dolphins enter harbours. The protection measures will be reviewed if necessary in light of this information.

Mr Hodgson said he greatly appreciated the efforts made by many people to find a solution to the Hector's dolphin issue, including researchers, environmental organisations, and particularly the Northern Inshore Fishing Company, which ran its own consultation process.

“I hope the management measures we are now putting in place will ensure that the North Island Hector’s dolphin population is at a much reduced risk from the effects of fishing,” he said.

The closed area will take effect in September.


Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Some Of The Moral Objections Being Levelled At Covid Vaccines

Quite the switch. Barely three months ago, the government was priding itself on cannily spreading its vaccine bets between Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novovaxx and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine being produced by its subsidiary, Janssen. It had seemed like a good idea to have supply contracts in place with almost the entire field given the uncertainties... More>>


 


Earthquakes: Tsunami Activity – Cancelled

The National Advisory issued at 2:48pm following this morning's earthquakes near the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION is cancelled.
The advice from GNS Science, based on ocean observations, is that the Beach and Marine threat has now passed for all areas... More>>

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>

ALSO:


Maori Party: New National Executive

This morning the Māori Party confirmed their new National Executive including Che Wilson, Fallyn Flavell, John Tamihere and Kaiarahi Takirua: Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer... More>>

Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels