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Hector's dolphins

Until recently the New Zealand government had imposed a ban on net fishing in the territory of the Hectors dolphins. However this ban was overturned at the beginning of April and since then, 3 dolphins have died in trawler nets. At this rate we will see the swift extinction of this species.

The New Zealand Government and Ministry of Fisheries

have received over 5000 emails from around the world

expressing concern about the recent ruling by the High

Court revoking a ban on fishing in the protected habitat

area of the North Island Hector's dolphin and encouraging a reinstatement of the ban on net setting in Hector dolphin habitat.

The environmental umbrella group, ECO are calling for people to use their consumer power to show their dismay by avoiding New Zealand fish products that may have come from the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. This rarest of the marine dolphins is at risk from set net fishing, particularly for rig (also known as spotted dogfish or gummy shark). At a May 2000 workshop independent scientists agreed that the population would be at great risk from the loss of more than one animal from human-induced deaths in five years.

It is official information that there have been 7 known deaths from human-induced sources of the dolphins in the last 2 years. The fishing industry is showing its true disregard for the environment there.

There are only a small number of fishers and several of those have shown before that they can switch fishing methods. This action by the industry is likely to do them more economic damage than good. It is already attracting considerable international attention and is likely to damage the reputation of all New Zealand seafood products, particularly of course the exports from the companies that make up the North Island Inshore Fishing Company, as well as their local sales.

Cath Wallace from ECO says that this case is another sad demonstration of the environmental failings of New Zealand's fisheries quota management system which has few incentives to protect non-target species or the environment.

We would like you to take time out to send an email to the New Zealand government demanding;

The immediate ban on set netting and pair trawling within 4 nautical miles
of shore.

A sanctuary covering the dolphins’ entire range.

A recovery plan for the Hectors dolphin.

Please send your email to the Ministers who can be reached at

Click here to download CSL3071.pdf (Reactions of Hector’s dolphins to acoustic gillnet pingers - Stone et al - Dec 2000)

Click here for further information