Net ban set to increase
''I know it's going to impact on their livelihoods"ISOBEL EWING
What do you think of the Government's proposal to extend the set net fishing ban off the coast of Taranaki?
The government has today announced a proposal to extend the set net fishing ban off the coast of Taranaki in an ongoing effort to protect the rare and endangered Maui's dolphin.
The proposed Waitara set net fishing ban extension is from Pariokariwa Point to Waiwhakaiho River in Taranaki and between two and seven nautical miles offshore, covering an area of 350 square kilometres.
Minister for the Environment Nick Smith was in New Plymouth today discussing the proposal with local commercial fishers and iwi.
Dr Smith said the proposal was up for consultation for 28 days and emphasised interested parties would have the chance to have their say.
''It's been a difficult meeting this morning because you have a range of set net fishermen here who will be negatively impacted by the extension to the set net ban.
''I know it's going to impact on their livelihoods, it's a very difficult balancing job between ensuring the survival of one of our most endangered species the Maui's dolphin and these people who earn a living.''
Dr Smith said he accepted the dolphins' predominant habitat was the area between Raglan and Kaipara harbours but there had been sightings off the Taranaki coast.
''In the area that I am proposing to extend the set net ban, we have had five observances of the Maui's dolphin, four of them are pretty reliable.''
The Taranaki Daily News reported a month ago that a government observer on board a commercial fishing vessel for more than a year had spotted no dolphins despite averaging 20 days a month fishing and covering 7500 nautical miles.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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