Urgent action needed to save Maui's dolphins

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 08:51 14/03/2012
STUFF.CO.NZ

The Green Party has called on the Government to take immediate action to save Maui's dolphins from extinction. Laura Westbrook reports.

Maui dolphin
CRITICALLY ENDANGERED: Maui's dolphin.

Relevant offers

Politics

Transport Minister Simon Bridges stands by Northland promise Colin Craig's lawyers in talks over Rachel MacGregor saga Scholarship exam fees a barrier for low decile schools - Labour NZ First leader Winston Peters keeps mum on deputy coup rumours Children's free GP visits kick in tomorrow Auckland to get a third of $13.9bn national transport fund MPs have better access than most when it comes to getting a rugby ticket Chris Laidlaw elected new GWRC chairman, rates set at 9.8 per cent New Zealand plans to focus on Mid-East on the security council Northland leader Sonny Tau forced to step down as Nga Puhi negotiator

The Greens are calling on the Government to take urgent action to protect critically endangered Maui's dolphins after a new study found there are only 55 adult animals remaining.

The Government yesterday called for public submissions on its plans to further protect the dolphins.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said action was needed after a population assessment commissioned by the Department of Conservation showed the number of adult dolphins had fallen in the past six years to just 55.

The main areas where Maui's dolphins were found were already protected by marine mammal sanctuaries and restrictions on fishing but new measures would extend a set net ban along the Taranaki coast south to Hawera and out to 4 nautical miles (6.5km).

The West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary would also be extended to Hawera and out to 12 nautical miles (20km), with restrictions on seismic surveys throughout the sanctuary.

The Government would also review its Hectors and Maui's Threat Management Plan this year, instead of next, and prioritise the Maui's dolphin component.

However, Greens oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said the Government needed to do more than "talk".

"The Government should use the precautionary principle and immediately extend the set net ban along the Taranaki coast and enlarge the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

"Consultation with industry can then occur and tweaks to the protection measures can be made if necessary."

While there would be an impact on the fishing industry, the alternative was the extinction of the Maui dolphin species.

"The species will become extinct if more than one dolphin dies every five to seven years.

"Two Maui's dolphins have died in the last 5 months."

Primary Industries Minister David Carter said the Government had to balance several factors with the new measures including the impact on the local fishing community.

"For this reason, we will be consulting on the proposed measures before final decisions are made."

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content