A report published this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders are prepared to pay a ‘Dolphin Tax’ to stop New Zealand dolphins dying in fishing nets.
The report was commissioned by Whale and Dolphin Conservation. It was presented in summary form to the Biennial meeting of the Marine Mammal Society which was held in Dunedin late last year.
The New Zealand Dolphin (an umbrella term for Hector’s and Māui dolphins) is unique to NZ and numbers are in rapid decline, primarily due to entanglement in fishing nets. The North Island population in particular (Māui dolphins) has an estimated population of fewer than 55 adults and only about 15 breeding females.
Biologist Gemma McGrath, a WDC consultant working in NZ, explains that “The New Zealand dolphin is doomed unless urgent action is taken to stop destructive fishing methods. We recognise that this will cost money and the really important finding from our study is that New Zealanders are prepared to pay extra for fish so non-destructive methods can be used.”
WDC, other international and local conservation organisations and marine mammal scientists believe the best means of achieving protection for the dolphins is to declare a national Dolphin Sanctuary everywhere the dolphins are found and for non-destructive fishing methods to be required within this sanctuary.
A summary of the paper and the full report can be downloaded below in electronic form. Printed copies of the report are available on request.
For further information or comment please contact Gemma McGrath on +64 276943533