Boaties urged to look out for dolphins

Last updated 09:58 05/02/2014

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Boaties and jet-skiers have been warned to take care of dolphins after a report of a boat travelling at speed through a pod in Wellington Harbour on Monday.

Department of Conservation ranger David Moss said a boat was seen travelling through a pod feeding in Evans Bay on Monday evening, causing it distress and separating mothers from calves.

"Jumping dolphins is not a sign of them having fun, it is often a sign of stress." 

DOC staff talked to boat drivers and explained the serious risk of propeller strike to dolphins and the stress caused by herding the animals. 

Boats should only approach dolphins from the side or rear of the pod and be travelling at a "no wake speed", he said.

"The likelihood of striking a dolphin or whale and causing injury or death decreases when you reduce your speed on the water."

While jet-skis are more manoeuvrable they are quieter underwater than normal boats, making them harder for dolphins to detect and avoid.

Mr Moss said it was a good reminder for all water users to take care of wildlife in the harbour.

Anyone who accidentally kills or injures a marine mammal is required to report it to DOC or a fisheries officer within 48 hours.

Sightings of dolphins can be reported to DOC on 0800 362 468. 

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- The Dominion Post

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