Maui’s dolphins are the rarest marine dolphin on earth. The species has experienced a dramatic decline and range contraction since the1970s. With more than ninety percent of their kind already lost, they have been reduced to a small, remnant population of some 55 individuals off the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This equates to less than 20 breeding females. Extinction is imminent.
Fishing, specifically with gill and trawl nets, is the main cause of mortality for Maui’s dolphins. It is therefore the prime factor obstructing their recovery.
In this severely depleted state, Maui’s dolphins can only cope with the death of one individual every 10 years. However, at least two Maui’s dolphin died between October 2011 and February 2012. More fatalities are likely but have gone unreported.
Swift, decisive and uncompromising action is required to prevent any further deaths if Maui’s dolphins are to return from the very brink of extinction. Trawling and the use of gillnets must be banned throughout their range. Every day they are exposed to gill and trawl nets carries a risk we simply can’t afford.
The government is proposing to extend the existing protected area, but will do so only if there is strong public support.
By signing this petition you are making a formal submission to the NZ Minister of Primary Industries as part of his public consultation on this matter.
For more information check out www.hectorsdolphins.com.
Thank you for your support for the last surviving Maui’s dolphins!