Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

App data highlights govt’s broken promises to help dolphins


Press Release

21 August 2018

************ EMBARGOED TO 8:00am WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST 2018 *************

New app data highlights government’s broken promises to help dolphins on brink of extinction.

More concerns have been raised by Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) over the government’s failure to meet election promises for protection of the endangered Hector’s dolphins and critically endangered Māui dolphins. This follows the release of new data that shows how active the dolphins are around the top of the South Island.

In the 2017 election, the government made manifesto promises to protect them, but has done very little since.

There are fewer than 60 Māui dolphins left, and the Hector’s population is down to just 20% of its former size, with set-netting and trawls in coastal regions killing these dolphins at a rate that could see them wiped out forever.

In March this year, a local Hector’s dolphin was found dead at Rabbit Island, by Nelson. The dolphin’s body showed marks made by fishing net with the official cause of death - suffocating in a set net.

Woefully inadequate protected areas for the dolphins were designated in 2008 but did not include the highly important Cook Strait and Taranaki Bight areas. Lack of data cited as the reason.

Now, data collected by the Hector’s Dolphin Sightings App, shows a five-fold increase in sighting records for Hector’s dolphins around the top of the South Island. This indicates the top of the South is an important habitat for Hector’s dolphins and should be protected from set nets and trawling. The Hector’s dolphin sighting database has jumped from 45 to 227 sighting events around the top of the South, since the app was launched less than two years ago, in partnership with WDC and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

People have been encouraged to download the app and record their sightings of Hector’s, Māui dolphins, and other species, and upload images to help species identification.

The increase in data gives the government a fresh incentive to fulfil their election promises to increase protection and make the transition to selective fishing methods that are better for the entire inshore ecosystem.

‘Hector’s dolphins at the top of the South link the West and East coasts of South Island,” says Gemma McGrath, WDC Consultant. ‘These dolphins have the potential to enhance genetic diversity of Māui dolphins, and may also be crucial for their future. Meanwhile, plastic fishing nets are pushing these indigenous dolphins to extinction.’

‘New Zealand has an important international reputation on conservation issues, but is utterly failing these little dolphins, who are found nowhere else on Earth,’ Mike Bossley, WDC Research Fellow Emeritus, says, ‘If the government doesn’t take decisive action now, they will be responsible for a mammal extinction.’

WDC is running an international public petition urging the government to keep its election promises and protect the dolphins. Whales.org/savenzdolphins.

The petition asks that the NZ government protects Hector’s and Māui dolphin habitat, across Cook Strait at the top of the South. The Taranaki Bight area is also home to Aotearoa’s Blue whale breeding ground, and many other whale and dolphin species in Cook Strait.

The world is wondering why a government that claims to be pro-conservation and pro-environment is allowing a native mammal to face local extinctions. It’s time to make our indigenous dolphins a priority by protecting their habitat and changing to safer, more selective ways to fish.

-Ends-

Labour Party’s election promises:

Source: New Zealand Labour Party Manifesto 2017
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/nzlabour/pages/8572/attachments/original/1504908218/Conservation_Policy.pdf?1504908218

Labour will “promote the recovery of Māui and Hector’s dolphin populations by ensuring that only dolphin-safe fishing methods are used throughout the natural range of these dolphins, in all areas less than 100 metres deep.

Labour will support “the development of further protective measures or sanctuaries in order to ensure the recovery of our endemic marine mammal populations’ and ‘monitor the effectiveness of existing marine mammal sanctuaries”.

Labour will “implement a phase-out of destructive and unsustainable fishing methods (such as bottom trawling, dredging and set netting) that harm vulnerable marine habitats’ and ‘support the fishing industry in transitioning to safe fishing methods that do not cause mortality of marine mammal and seabird species”.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Grey Power: Is Disappointed To Learn Of More Bank Closures

Many older people are being left without essential services because of cost cutting and the march of modern technology. It is now expected that most banking transactions can occur via the internet or telephone. Jan Pentecost, President of the Grey Power ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Supply Chain On Brink Of Overload Says National Road Carriers

The New Zealand supply chain is on the brink of overload and it looks like the upcoming peak imports season may push it over the edge says National Road Carriers Association (NRC) CEO David Aitken. “Worldwide supply chains are in disarray,” says Mr Aitken. ... More>>

Retail: Supermarkets Announced As Government’s Second Market Study

The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics New Zealand: Retail Sales Recover In The September 2020 Quarter

Retail sales values recorded the largest September quarter rise since the series began in 1995, Stats NZ said today. Spending on major household items, vehicles, and groceries contributed to the strong 7.4 percent ($1.8 billion) rise in total ... More>>

Kea Aerospace: New Zealand Flies Into The Stratosphere

Development has started on a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft that can fly in the stratosphere continuously for months at a time. The zero-emission aircraft will carry a suite of imagery equipment that will be game-changing for many industries, vastly ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>

ALSO:


Forest & Bird: Kākāpō Wins Bird Of The Year 2020

The nation has voted and Aotearoa New Zealand has a new Bird of the Year. New Zealand’s moss-colored flightless parrot has climbed to the top-spot for the second time in Forest & Bird’s annual Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau/Bird of the Year competition. ... More>>