NZ opposes more dolphin protection
Fri, 21 Sep 2012 10:55a.m.
Conservationists are criticising the government after it failed to support a move to increase protection of rare Maui's and Hector's dolphins.
New Zealand was one of two dissenting votes against a motion at an international conservation meeting earlier this month seeking more action to prevent the extinction of globally endangered dolphins and porpoises.
At its congress in South Korea, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while commending New Zealand and other governments for steps taken to preserve rare species, voted to support moves to increase protection.
It wants gillnets and trawl nets banned from the shore to 100 metres of water where both types of dolphins are found and to put observers on every boat using gillnets or trawling in their habitat until the ban is put in place.
The motion, sponsored by the Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand (ECO), was backed by 576 of the union's members.
"There is overwhelming global support for the New Zealand government to take action to stop gillnet and trawl fishing threatening the survival of our endangered dolphins.
"By voting against essential protection for the world's most endangered marine dolphin, the New Zealand government has acted shamefully and can no longer claim to be leaders in conservation," World Wildlife Fund's Rebecca Bird said.
The vote against the motion was also criticised by ECO.
"Almost everyone apart from the New Zealand government wanted to see a strong resolution that recognised the threatened status of these special dolphins and porpoises."
It is estimated that only 55 Maui's dolphins exist off the west coast of the North Island, while there are believed to be around 7000 Hector's dolphins in the South Island.
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23/09/2012 3:04:07 p.m.
@ NDAWG Almost right except that good science would determine that protection for the Maui's dolphin would be a waste of time and resources. The focus is on Maui's simply because they are cute and iconic and can be used to push a point. NZ's coastal marine environment is in poor shape because the environmental impacts are nearly invisible and so-called conservationists don't actually get close to the sea or have the understanding needed to see what is really wrong and what the best solutions might be. Radical changes to fishing methods is only part of the solution. The QMS needs a thorough reworking and land use impacts are also very important.
23/09/2012 7:06:50 a.m.
Wise, scientific management of our marine environment would be to stop the current exploitation and harvesting methods of our fish stocks and accidental by-catch i.e. maui dolphin.
21/09/2012 9:51:05 p.m.
New Zealand - having two votes - was the only country to vote against this. All to protect the *freedom* of fishermen to exploit the natural environment for profit. Shameful. As is usual for National ministers, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson wasn't available for comment. I guess the extinction of an intelligent species is nothing compared the almighty dollar.
21/09/2012 8:07:55 p.m.
A National shame for sure... Dinosaurs: killed off by a meteor; Maui's dolphins: rendered extinct by a corrupt government - explain THAT to our descendants!!!
PS: The 'other' country that voted against?! There was no other country! Quote from the Press: 'It was initially believed two countries opposed the motion, but it has since been revealed that New Zealand had two votes'
21/09/2012 1:56:58 p.m.
thanks have to go to the hardly honorable Kate Wilkinson.Would like to know the reasons NZ voted against measures and who was the one other country who voted against... Was it one who possibly would like to eat them all to extinction? What an embarrasement.
21/09/2012 12:12:31 p.m.
It is long since time that these groups accepted the fact that the Maui's dolphin cannot be saved. It will go extinct no matter what measures are put in place. The effort should be made to increase the scientific management of NZ's waters. Commercial or customary exploitation of fish stock should come second to wise management of the marine environment around our coasts. The futile efforts wasted on the Maui dolphin distract from the real issues of smart management.
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