Fishing Industry Will Continue To Kill Dolphins Under New Rules
New measures announced yesterday by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash will not bring the critically endangered Māui dolphin back from the brink, according to animal rights organisation SAFE.
SAFE Campaigns Director Ilan Goldberg said the measures do not go far enough.
"The silent killer here is the very same one that’s haunting our endangered albatross - bycatch taken by our fishing vessels, which is not independently monitored."
"The fishing industry won’t be held to account without enforceable rules and cameras on fishing vessels. Currently, what happens at sea, stays at sea."
Goldberg says the Government must establish a separate crown entity that is independent of the fishing industry. It should have the mandate to protect threatened marine and bird life such as the Māui dolphin.
The new measures in New Zealand follow court action launched by Sea Shepherd in the United States which call for an import ban on New Zealand seafood caught in the endangered dolphin's habitat. The complainants say New Zealand's protection laws for marine mammals are far less stringent than those in the US.
There are only around 63 Māui dolphins and about 15,000 Hector's dolphins remaining in the world. The Māui dolphin is the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin. They are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered.
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We're working towards a world where animals are understood and respected in such a way that they are no longer exploited, abused or made to suffer.
Notes for editors:
- Last month, Sea Shepherd Legal and Earthrise Law Center filed a case on behalf of Sea Shepherd New Zealand and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. They say the US Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, NOAA Fisheries and the Treasury Department have failed to take legally mandated action to ban imports from New Zealand fisheries where Māui dolphins are in danger of becoming bycatch.
- Last year Greenpeace delivered a petition to Parliament demanding better protection for native dolphins. The petition was signed by 55,000 people.