Maui's dolphin numbers hit new low
Tue, 13 Mar 2012 4:32p.m.
The government is planning to extend set net bans on the West Coast after a new study showed a substantial drop in the number of Maui’s dolphins.
Maui's dolphins are one of the rarest sub-species of dolphin in the world.
The government also plan to bring forward a review of the threat management plan for both Maui’s and Hectors dolphins - which was planned for next year – to this year.
A new population assessment by the Department of Conservation shows there are only 55 adult Maui’s dolphins left. A study in 2005 estimated there were 111 of the dolphins left.
The declining numbers have led Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and Primary Industries Minister David Carter to propose an extension of the set net ban and the mammal sanctuary off the coast of Taranaki.
The proposed new measures would extend the set net ban along the Taranaki coast from Pariokariwa Point south to Hawera and out to 4-nautical miles.
The West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary would also be extended to Hawera and out to 12 nautical miles, with restrictions on seismic surveys throughout the sanctuary.
The proposed changes would be implemented while the threat management review is done.
“The review of the Threat Management Plan will reassess natural and man-made risks that Hectors and Maui’s dolphins face and recommend how the greatest risks can be mitigated,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“Maui’s are critically endangered so any decline is very concerning. It is important that we act now, which is why the Government has proposed the interim measures and has brought forward the review of the plan.”
Ms Wilkinson says the public can play its part by reporting sightings of the dolphin species.
Before the interim measures can be implemented, the Government “must balance several factors in proposing interim protection measures, including the impact on the local fishing community,” Mr Carter says.
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19/03/2012 5:45:25 p.m.
They say the population has dropped by 50% since 2005 with only one reported death in a set-net, Maybe they should look at other reasons of why the dolphins are dying. Trawlers are coming in to the dolphin area at night undetected, and no one is enforcing this. If a commercial fisherman using trawl nets or even 2 boats pair trawling catch a dolphin, they are not going to report the death to anyone, but will dispose of the dolphin.
Banning set netting further down the coast with do nothing.
16/03/2012 9:37:22 a.m.
Dilek Akman wrote:
How can any body hurt these wonderful animals.. Please stop them from killing..
13/03/2012 8:31:08 p.m.
I truely hope the Govt. acts quickly to help them in every way we can.
13/03/2012 7:25:27 p.m.
If the population has dropped by 50% in seven years with only one supposed capture which was outside there supposed range and non inside it means that increasing the size of the setnet ban is going to achieve nothing in the way of protecting them. If the only capture was outside there known range them maybe they have shifted to another location or calling them a subspecies is just a scam. The differance between Maui and Hectors dolphins is less than the differance between say europeans and asians and they are always telling us we are the same for all intents and purposes.
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