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Campaign Launched To Educate Consumers Who Love Dolphins

Māui and Hector’s Dolphin Defenders

1 November 2015

Campaign Launched To Educate Consumers Who Love Dolphins

A new campaign launched on Sunday makes a dramatic link between fish and chips and the extinction of Māui and Hector’s dolphins.

There are only about 55 Māui dolphins left, meaning they’re the world’s rarest marine dolphin, but about three are killed in gill nets off the North Island’s west coast every year.

95% of known Māui and Hector’s dolphin deaths were caused by gill net entrapment, according to Department of Conservation figures.

The dolphins are unprotected throughout most of their range, with gill netting allowed to within 2nm from shore.

Environmentalists say Māui and Hector’s dolphins are ending up as ByCatch of the day, and to make their point, use stunning images to make the link between dolphin deaths and the New Zealand market for a cheap fish and chips meal.

Māui and Hector’s Dolphin Defenders group chair, Christine Rose, says their campaign reminds New Zealanders to think of the dolphins when they buy inshore fish species.

Only when recreational and commercial gillnets are removed from the dolphins’ habitat will they be safe from extinction”.

“The campaign is also a reminder against complacency. After the last Māui dolphin net death, the Minister of Conservation of the time, Nick Smith, now Minister for the Environment, promised to increase fisheries observer coverage to 100% in the core Māui habitat over four years, to clarify and quantify dolphin deaths. At last update almost two years in, only 11%, or 54 of 475 fishing days had observer coverage.”

“This campaign calls on the Government to honour its commitment to 100% observer coverage in core Māui habitat, and reminds the New Zealand public of their role in either saving Māui and Hector’s dolphins, or supporting their extinction.”

Today’s campaign launch was attended by Libby Christophers, a young Māui dolphin campaigner who recently won a trip to San Francisco in the Action for Nature ‘International Young Eco-Hero’ awards. Libby says “It’s our job to stop this before it’s too late, to make a difference, to give a voice to those without one and to save the smallest, rarest and most beautiful dolphin species in the world that’s running out of time.

And together, we can fix this. It’s up to us to make a change. It’s up to us to lobby the government to protect our dolphins, forever. Extinction is permanent and Maui’s Dolphin are taonga, a treasure that we can’t afford to lose”.


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