Dolphin status queried

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Massey University marine biologist Karen Stockin is concerned about insufficient data on the common dolphin and its label by the Conservation Ministry as ‘non threatened’.

She says it is "imperative" we represent the species correctly.

An official information request to Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick revealed images of 22 bloody dolphin carcasses killed by four Jack Mackerel Fisheries trawler boats in December 2007.

Ms Stockin says the fact that the Conservation Ministry has the dolphins’ status as not threatened is a concern.

"This is based on no scientific data and it has designated them to be common, which we don’t know.

"There is no evidence to support that status."

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Mrs Chadwick says the current classification of common dolphin as "not threatened" is the unanimous opinion of an expert panel.

But Ms Stockin says people need to act cautiously because we lack statistical data.

Reports last week said up to 300 common dolphins a year could be falling victim to human activity.

Ms Stockin says tougher measures and penalties are needed to ensure fishing boats abide by codes of practice requiring them not to drop nets in the presence of dolphins.

North Shore Times