Mauis Dolphin Threat Management Plan for DOC and MPI

There’s only 55 of a species of dolphin know as the ‘Maui’s. That’s a tiny number. They live on New Zealand’s North Island West Coast. The Department of Conservation and The Ministry for Primary Industries are asking for submissions on their latest threat management plan.

If you want to know more, a great place to start is here:

WWF Maui’s Dolphin Information

I’ve made a video for them:

I have also submitted my thoughts to them. I strongly encourage you to too. Don’t let this creature become only the second aquatic mammal to be made extinct by humans since the baiji (yangtze river dolphin).

Here’s what I have submitted to the Department of Conservation and to the Ministry for Primary Industries on the subject:


Hi,

My name’s Niall Darwin, I live at 13B Uenuku Avenue, Raglan and this is my submission on the Maui’s Dolphin Threat Management Plan. I’ve also made a quick video for you, you can see it here:
http://youtu.be/X2hE0zbD4RI

I was at the meeting / public consultation held on 24th October here in Raglan. At this, as well as a lot of discussion, the TMP documents were available. These are crazy. Including the maps and risk assessment there’s well over 250 pages. That’s great but where’s the summary for the average busy layman? No one but those studying or working on this topic has time (and perhaps understanding of the subject) to digest all of this. The purpose of experts is to draw conclusions and summarise so that we, the public can make informed decisions.

Luckily the WWF have created their submission guide (http://awsassets.wwfnz.panda.org/downloads/maui_s_letter_and_submission_writing_guide.pdf). This is four readable sides of A4 and refers to a risk assessement – I’m guessing the 51-page document I picked up at the Raglan meeting, sadly they don’t specify exactly. This WWF document summarises very clear conclusions, and in their opinion the options presented in the TMP, even at their most stringent, are inadequate to save the dolphin.

Inadequate to save the Maui’s dolphin. Think about that.

Why are we being asked to comment on an inadequate set of suggestions? Why are we wasting everyone’s time? If we are going to do this, let’s do it and not simply pay lip service. Have you ever read Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardine’s ‘Last Chance to See’, the chapter on the Baiji dolphin? Its heart breaking and scathing of China. Well that’s us with the way we’re acting at the moment.

One of the conclusions of the Risk Assessment is that 95% of the threats to the dolphin are from fishing-related threats. Let’s deal with that. Let’s be proactive in enforcing the existing rules. Anecdotal evidence at the meeting in Raglan suggested that there were fishermen breaching these rules. Can we get VIS (I think that’s what its called – Vessel Identification System?) on all commercial fishing vessels? That way we can know where the fishermen are and this uncertainty is taken care of. The current way of policing it – some bloke who gets a ‘ute once every 2 weeks (or was it a month) who then get to drive it to get out on his boat to check up – is a total joke.
As well as enforcing the rules, it seems to me as though protection is required much further from the coast – 7 nautical miles has been mentioned several times. Why not err on safety and ban all netting within 10 nautical miles of the coast? Fishing is an industry in decline regardless of rules so don’t tell me that it’s bad for the industry.

The other 5% of the threats – mining and oil related – is somewhere I’m sure we can improve too but let’s work hard on that 95% for now.

I came to New Zealand (Yes, I’m a Welshman not a Kiwi) because of its natural beauty, wildlife and the respect with which it was treated – or so I thought. Let’s do this right. Let’s save this creature. I call on DOC, MPI and the whole of the New Zealand Government to do all it can to save the Maui’s Dolphin. There’s 55 left, its time to do and not to argue.

Thanks,

Niall Darwin

Whether you agree or disagree with me, please let New Zealand’s Government know here.

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