In response to three more Hector’s Dolphins killed near Banks Peninsula:
Global animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection, is calling for a moratorium on trawl and set net fishing in Māui and Hector’s dolphin habitat after a spate of dolphin deaths, continued this week with three more Hector’s killed near Banks Peninsula; the site of five killed in a single net this time last year.
Christine Rose, Campaign Advisor at World Animal Protection says while the development of a new Threat Management Plan (TMP) to address threats to the dolphins has been delayed, but is underway, dolphins continue to be killed in commerical fisheries. This means urgent interim action should be undertaken to prevent any more dolphins from entrapment death, and to avoid risks of species level harm:
“A previous National-led government responded to dolphin deaths with a moratorium on fishing in Māui habitat. The pressure facing the dolphins needs to be addressed now, while the TMP continues to be developed and there is a interim precedent that can be followed.
“It is obvious that trawling poses untenable risk to dolphins (as well as other species), and while the TMP process seems to be struggling to keep up to date with the rash of by-catch incidents, it’s essential harm is removed from the dolphins habitat in the meantime. If there was ever a case for a preventative and precautionary approach, this is it.
“An interim moratorium on trawl and set net fishing in the dolphin habitats out to 100m deep will keep dolphins safe in the meantime, while the TMP continues its development and consultation process for longer term protection. Clearly we haven’t got a moment to spare, dolphins keep being killed in a fishery that is failing to avoid its collateral impacts on the world’s smallest, and New Zealand’s only endemic dolphin.
“Scientists from the Ministry of Primary Industries have suggested up to 60 Hector’s are killed as trawl by-catch in any given year. That’s bad enough. In the last year, and even in recent months, deaths have put us on a trajectory for even more. These deaths are unsustainable, and can be avoided by removing trawl and set nets from water the dolphins inhabit – out to 100m deep around the South Island and the West and East Coasts of the North where the dolphins are found.
We need to protect the remaining dolphins now. Anything else is negligence. After the five deaths last year, the Ministers of Fisheries and Conservation pledged to accelerate the TMP – an impossible task really given the inputs required to get protection right. But that’s no excuse for inaction now. The Government could, and should, apply an immediate moratorium and get serious about protection. There’s a precedent for this, set by the previous government, and World Animal Protection urges this government to follow that example, to keep dolphins safe”.