Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Dolphin death sparks calls for more fishing restrictions
Conservation groups have renewed calls for a ban on set net and trawling fishing practices following the death of a rare Maui's dolphin.
The Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry says the dolphin died off the Taranaki coast in January after being caught in a set net.
A German-based conservation organisation, NABU International, says gill and trawl net fishing practices should cease in New Zealand.
Its position is supported by both the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Forest and Bird.
WWF's executive director Chris Howe says stopping such fishing practices would give Maui's dolphins a decent chance of survival.
There are fishing restrictions in place to protect the Maui's dolphin, but MAF says this one was outside their normal territory when it became caught in the net.
The Seafood Industry Council says the death of the dolphin was accidental and deeply regrettable.
It says the fisherman involved obeyed the rules by reporting the incident and this shows the industry is serious about its responsibilities.
The council says fishermen will be more vigilant now that it's clear the dolphins may be moving into new areas.
But it rejects a blanket ban on set net and trawling fishing as a knee-jerk reaction to an isolated incident.