Letter to New Zealand Minister of Conservation: additional protection is insufficient

Hon Dr. Nick Smith
Minister for Conservation
Government of New Zealand

Dear Dr. Smith,

Thank you for advising the Society of Marine Mammalogy that additional netting closures are planned to protect Maui’s dolphin.

We appreciate that such action is very difficult because of the resultant negative impact on the New Plymouth fishing industry.

Members of the Society have extensive experience with efforts to reduce interactions between marine mammals and the fishing industry. It is our professional opinion that to successfully conserve this sub-species, it will be necessary to reduce the risk of Maui’s dolphins being caught in nets to zero. This can only be done by extending the proposed netting closures to cover the entire range of the Maui’s dolphin.

While we realize the complications of such an action, the Society hopes that the New Zealand government will be able to take this critical step to save the world’s rarest dolphins.


Helene Marsh