The Green Party welcomes the move by Sanford, Moana New Zealand and WWF New Zealand to restrict commercial fishing in Māui dolphin/popoto habitat north of New Plymouth, and is calling on the Government to increase protection for the severely endangered species.
“Sanford and Moana New Zealand have shamed the Government by taking a step that the National Government hasn’t been prepared to,” said Green Party fisheries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“But without stronger protection sooner from threats such as set nets, trawling and the oil and gas industry, the remaining 63 Māui dolphin left have little chance of thriving.
“We need to see dolphin-friendly fishing methods implemented across the whole of Māui dolphin range, from Northland’s Maunganui Bluff to the mouth of the Whanganui River, not just the coast north of New Plymouth.
“The Green Party has a plan to save Māui dolphin by protecting all of their habitat off the west coast of the North Island from both lethal set nets and trawl nets. We will support fishers to adopt dolphin-safe fishing methods with up to $20 million over three years.
“The Government must come to the party and help fishers take the responsible steps towards protecting Māui dolphins so that the transition is easier for fishers, and action can be taken sooner than the fishing companies’ 2022 deadline to phase out trawling,” said Ms Sage.