Marching for endangered Māui and Hectors Dolphins.

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Protestors marched in Auckland today, calling for stronger protections for endangered Māui and Hector dolphins and to change to selective, sustainable fishing methods that don't catch dolphins - in areas where NZ dolphins and other vulnerable species are found.

Christine Rose from Māui & Hector's Dolphin Defenders NZ says, “We're calling on the Government to retain the electronic monitoring proposal that was put in place by the previous government, this government is suggesting that they'll remove the cameras and that'll remove scrutiny, transparency and accountability from the fishing fleet when we need more, not less.”

She says the dolphin species are more endangered than Kiwi.

“In 1970's there were about 30,000 Māui and 30,000 Hectors, now we've only got about 63 Māui adults and small sub-populations that are really isolated down to as low as forty individuals of Hectors of Pahu in the South Island.”

In a statement received from the Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash, he says he has not canceled cameras & they remain under consideration. He states that Fisheries officials from MPI are working with the commercial fishing industry to resolve outstanding technical and administrative problems with the digital monitoring programme. Nash also adds that a team of around 100 independent fisheries observers can be called on to travel out with the boats in the deep water fishing fleet to monitor and report on catches and other activities.

Christine Rose says they won't stop fighting to protect these endangered dolphins

“This is a representation of the groundswell of civic support for better protection for Māui and Hectors and the rest of our marine environment so it's a call to the Government to do more not less, get their act together, stand up to the fishing interests, show some courage, save Maui and Hectors.”

Mr. Nash says he is working with the Conservation Minister on a review of the Threat Management Plan for Hectors & Māui, which has not been updated for 10 years.