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Gaps in information on Maui’s dolphins

News Media Statement
25th September 2012
For immediate release
Threat Management Plan acknowledges gaps in information on Maui’s dolphins

The New Zealand seafood industry welcomes the acknowledgement in the review of the Maui’s dolphin Threat Management Plan that, “the nature and extent of human-induced threats to Maui’s dolphins is still highly uncertain, due to gaps in available information.”

The Chief Executive of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, Peter Bodeker, says the seafood industry is concerned that the Maui’s population is small and threatened and it would support constructive action.

“But any action needs to be based on solid, scientific evidence, which is critically lacking,” he says.

“About the only thing we are certain of, is that government observers have been on Taranaki fishing boats since late July monitoring their fishing activity and sailing up and down the Taranaki coast, including through areas closed to set netting, and none of them have seen a single dolphin which could be a Maui’s.

Peter Bodeker raises industry’s concerns that the risk assessment process that is used in the review of the TMP is deeply s flawed in how it assesses dolphin mortality.

“That process was not rigorous or well-informed. The estimates of the impact of fishing are just guesses. There is no real data. For instance, we’ve just got the news that the disease toxoplasmosis is killing Maui’s, but we have little idea how widespread this is, nor any suggestion to treat them for it,” Peter Bodeker says.

“Like all New Zealanders we want to see Maui’s thrive but that can only happen if we have well-informed decisions and confidence that they do something about the real threats.

“Fishing has been an easy target, with significant restrictions on commercial and recreational fisheries for more than 10 years. It is time to require genuinely evidence-based decision making. So we welcome the review and Government’s commitment to, “using the best available information to manage the risk to Maui’s dolphins.”


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