A Dolphin’s Tale
To our great shame, one of the world’s most endangered species, the Maui’s Dolphin, now has less than 55 individuals left. The species is 54 deaths away from extinction.
It’s close cousin, the Hector’s Dolphin, numbers around 7,000-8,000 – a drop from 30,000 in the 1970s.
Each year 23 Hector’s dolphins are drowned in fisher’s nets.
Set nets have all but destroyed these air-breathing mammals in our insatiable rush to strip the seas of edible fish.
On 28 June, Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced,
“I have decided to extend the recreational and commercial set net ban in the Taranaki area, from Pariokariwa Point south to Hawera, with an offshore boundary of 2 nautical miles (nm)…
In addition, due to the level of uncertainty in information relating to Maui’s dolphin presence in the area, I have decided to prohibit the use of commercial set nets between 2 nm and 7 nm in this area without an observer onboard.
- report start and end positions of nets set between 2 and 7 nm from shore; and
- report dolphins sightings to DOC.”
Which seemed remarkably less than what was required to save Maui’s dolphin and prevent Hector’s dolphin from sliding further toward extinction.
On 21 September, Radio NZ featured a report about New Zealand’s governmental delegation to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s conference, held in Korea. Shockingly, our delegation voted against strengthening measures to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins,
Radio NZ: Listen to more on Morning Report
It must be one of the few occassions in our history that New Zealand has voted against a conservation measure in an international forum, focusing specifically on an endangered species within our own territory.
There must have been several raised eyebrows at that Conference.
How much longer can call ourselves “100% Pure – Clean & Green”? (Maybe 70%?)
On 12 June, John Key fronted a “Live Chat”, hosted by Fairfax media, where he answered questions put to him by readers.
See Previous blogpost: Fairfax – an hour with Dear Leader
One of the questions put to him referred to endangered dolphins in our waters,
What is the govt doing to prevent the extinction of the Maui dolphins? DETAILS! Not just “we’re working on it” NZ wants answers. We want a moratorium on set net fishing.
12:28 John Key:
We are very close to making an announcement in relation to that issue. Stay posted.
That tantalising hint of “an announcement in relation to that issue” raised hopes that National was set to take firm, decisive action to preserve both species from the abyss of permanent extinction.
No such luck.
By now we should be used to National stating lofty goals – and taking the lowest road possible to the easiest, cheapest outcome. An outcome we live to regret later.
In two years, Maui’s dolphin may be extinct.
That’s one hell of a “legacy” for John Key’s Prime Ministership to be remembered by.
Forest & Bird: Hector’s Dolphins: Distribution
Previous Related Blogpost
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