Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Government using uncertain science to distract from bycatch



Sunday 7 August 2016

Government using uncertain science to distract from unsustainable bycatch

The government is using uncertain science to distract the public from unsustainable bycatch in New Zealand’s fisheries, says an environmental advocacy group dedicated to Māui and Hector’s dolphins.

Māui and Hector’s Dolphin Defenders NZ Inc, is questioning the Government’s motives and its methods, after the release last week of new abundance estimates for Hector’s dolphins that show “an unrealistic increase in the population”.

“After a week where the media spotlight has been on the thousands of seabirds, marine mammals and other species killed as fisheries bycatch, it’s no coincidence that the Government has pulled out these questionable estimates that claim ‘it’s all good news for Hector’s dolphins’, says Māui & Hector’s Dolphin Defenders Chair Christine Rose. “This is a blatant attempt to distract from the widespread environmental carnage occurring every year, in New Zealand’s waters”.

“There are unresolved problems with the McKenzie and Clement report” says Mrs Rose. “The survey completely missed dolphins present in some areas, and probably counted dolphins elsewhere, at least twice”.

Dolphin Consultant Gemma McGrath explains, “Just three dolphins were sighted in Golden Bay over winter. And from this one group, there is supposed to be over 200 dolphins in Golden Bay alone, which locals know is absolutely ridiculous”. “The survey effort was great at reinforcing offshore distribution and how most of their range continues to be unprotected. However for areas of low density the approach is completely unreliable. It’s dangerous to overestimate such critically endangered subpopulations.”

Three different groups of peer reviewers, including the IWC have all found the same problems. The IWC is expecting the NZ government to conduct a workshop to resolve the uncertainties with the methodology. “Without some of the computational extrapolation of figures in the report, it seems Hector’s dolphin numbers are lower, and the population faces more risk, not less” says Ms McGrath.

A report released by Dragonfly Data Science last week revealed 2,230 seabirds, 390 fur seals, 80 other dolphins and at least 10 sea lions were killed in fishing nets in the 2013-2014 commercial fishing year. The Government has also been under ongoing pressure in light of under-reporting of bycatch including Māui and Hector’s dolphins, dumping of non-target species and serious lack of observers on fishing vessels in dolphin habitat.

“Until those uncertainties are resolved, we should continue to focus on the state of our oceans, and the real and present danger from set and trawl nets to Māui and Hector’s dolphins, seabirds and other marine mammals”.

“This politically expedient use of uncertain science should not blind us to the reality that fishing impacts are unsustainable for many marine species, and Māui and Hector’s dolphins in particular”.

“The Government should face up to its responsibilities to address by-catch and install 100% observer coverage in Māui dolphin range, as promised in 2012, and ramp up observer coverage elsewhere. They also should make resolving the problems with these latest dolphin estimates a priority”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Housing Issues: Fairer Rules For Tenants And Landlords

The key changes include:

- Limit rent increases to once every 12 months and banning the solicitation of rental bids by landlords.

- Improve tenant’s security by removing a landlord’s right to use no cause terminations to end a periodic tenancy agreement...

- Improve compliance with the law by increasing financial penalties and introducing new tools to take direct action against parties who are not meeting their obligations. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Farming Sector’s Persecution Complex

The narrative that our farmers are ‘doing it tough’ plays into a number of wellworn stereotypes ... More>>


corrections, prisonCorrections: Independent Review Of Prisoner Mail Management

The independent review into the prisoner mail system has today been released, with Corrections accepting all 13 recommendations and making a number of changes to strengthen the management of prisoner mail. More>>


IPCA: Unlawful Detention Of Teenager; Influence Of Investigation

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that former Inspector Hurimoana Dennis unlawfully detained an Auckland teenager in 2015, and improperly influenced the outcome of a criminal investigation into his own son in 2014. More>>


SOP For Gun Bill: New Measures For Modified Pistols

The new controls will • Prohibit short-barrelled semi-automatic rifles which currently are defined as pistols because they are shorter than 762 millimetres. • Introduce tighter controls over pistol carbine conversion kits… • Prohibit firearms which contain a part known as a centrefire lower receiver… More>>

'Culturally Arranged Visitors Visa': Fix For Marriage Visa Issue

Earlier this year Immigration New Zealand issued guidance to front line Immigration staff that made it significantly harder for people to get visas to visit their partner. That guidance no longer applies with today’s announcement. More>>


Conflict Of Interest For Key Member: Budget Data Breach Investigation Shut Down

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today terminated the investigation into how Budget-sensitive material was accessed at the Treasury and appointed a new inquirer. More>>

RNZ Report: Mysterious Foundation Loaning NZ First Money

A mysterious foundation that loans money to New Zealand First is under scrutiny, with a university law professor saying although it's lawful, it fails to provide the transparency voters need in a democracy. More>>

Justice: Criminal Cases Review Commission Established

“We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, even with rights of appeals, and there needs to be a chance for the innocent on the right grounds to seek a final review of their case...” More>>





InfoPages News Channels