Petition calls for better protection of Māui dolphins

 Petition calls for better protection of Māui dolphins
Photo credit: File

A 55,000-strong petition will be delivered to the steps of Parliament on Monday morning calling for better protection of Māui dolphins.

It comes as submissions close for the Government's action plan to protect the species.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Jessica Desmond says a bold plan is the only way to save them.

"We would be looking for a ban on the fishing methods that threaten Māui's dolphins as well as protection from oil drilling and exploration.

In June, the Government announced new measures to protect the dolphins, with cameras to be placed on 28 fishing boats operating in the animal's habitat off the west coast of the North Island by November. 

The move, which is set to cost $17 million, was criticised by environmentalists and academics for not going far enough.

It is estimated there are only 63 Māui adult dolphins left in the world. In 1971, there were approximately 2000.

According to environmental watchdog Sea Shepherd, four dolphins are estimated to be killed each year in bycatch.