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Dolphin review not enough - Forest and Bird

Tuesday 25 Sep 2012 10:52 a.m.

A Maui's dolphin

A Maui's dolphin

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A review of the plan to save the critically endangered Maui's dolphin won't do enough to protect it, Forest and Bird says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on Monday said it was bringing forward the review of the threat management plan for the dolphin, of which an estimated 55 older than one year remain.

MPI's resource management and programmes deputy director general Scott Gallacher says the review will consider all known human-induced threats to the dolphins, how the threats can be mitigated and research priorities.

It acknowledges fishing-related threats are the most critical threat to the dolphins, but Forest and Bird marine conservation advocate Katrina Subedar says MPI's options don't do enough to remove fishing threats.

She says the Government needs to immediately ban all gill nets and trawlers offshore to the 100m depth contour, and within all harbours along the west coast of the North Island.

"We have already had one death in January. Given the few remaining Maui's left, we can't afford to lose a single dolphin," Ms Subedar said.

"So why doesn't this Government take this threat seriously?"

The Government incurred the wrath of conservationists last week when it was the only dissenting vote against a poll at the International Union for Conservation of Nature in South Korea calling for increased protection for dolphins.

"The world is watching New Zealand and we can't afford not to take immediate action," Ms Subedar said.

The Government extended set net bans along the Taranaki coast in June, and banned the use of commercial set nets between two and seven nautical miles in the area unless there is an observer on board fishing boats.

The public can make submissions on the plan to the MPI or the Department of Conservation until November 12.


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