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Twelve Months On From Sea Shepherd’s Historic Win For The Māui Dolphin And The US Ban Is Still In Place

Twelve months on from Sea Shepherd’s historic win for the Māui dolphin and the US ban is still in place, with another two years possible.

“We are keen on looking at other species and also countries which wish to join the ban” says Michael Lawry Managing Director of Sea Shepherd NZ. “Consumers world-wide are scrutinising where their food comes from so the spotlight on countries which don’t comply will only intensify”.

After four years fighting for the protection of the critically endangered Māui dolphin endemic to New Zealand, direct legal action resulted in a huge win in late 2022 The lawsuit brought by Sea Shepherd New Zealand and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (collectively Sea Shepherd), the United States Court of International Trade ordered a ban of imports of nine fish species caught off the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island in November 2022. The ban specifically applies to set-net and trawl fisheries operating in Māui dolphin habitat, where most recent estimates suggest only 48 individual dolphins over the age of one year remain.

Recently NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) extended its exemption period for all countries exporting seafood into the US to submit applications they comply with US standards until 31 December 2025. This includes New Zealand. This potentially extends the ban on NZ seafood from Maui habitat for another two years.

Sea Shepherd is committed to continue the fight for our national dolphin both on and off the water.

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