Help us Save Maui and Hector’s Dolphins

Ask the Government to protect them in all waters up to 100 metres deep!

The 2020 decision on dolphin protection is not sustainable. The simple solution is the 100 metre option recommended by the IUCN and others.

The NZ Whale and Dolphin Trust want Maui and Hector’s dolphins to be protected throughout their range, by banning gill nets and trawl nets in all waters less than 100 metres deep.

To help us get this message across, you could make an appointment with your local Member of Parliament, to ask them what they are doing about saving NZ dolphins. You can make an appointment with your local MP by calling their office. They will usually meet with people in their electorate on Saturday mornings. Even better, make an appointment with the Minister of Conservation (Eugenie Sage), Minister of Fisheries (Stuart Nash) or Prime Minister (Jacinda Ardern):

All of these politicians will be especially interested in talking with voters during the election period. This will help to ensure that they put specific goals in their party’s environmental policy statement. Talk to your friends, relatives, workmates, members of your local surfing club, kayak club, diving club and conservation groups and ask them to write an email or talk with their MP too!

Some other things you can do: If you go fishing, do not use nets. Only use fish traps, hook and line, a fishing rod or other dolphin-safe fishing methods. When you see dolphins out on the water, slow down, enjoy spending time with them. Avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.

Please support the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust. Send us a message of support, make a donation, respond to one of the posts on our Facebook page.

Dr Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue and the Hope Spot

Most other conservation groups support dolphin protection in all waters less than 100 m deep. e.g. This is the recommendation of the Mission Blue New Zealand Coastal Waters hope spot. Mission Blue is a campaign initiated by Dr Sylvia Earle, a famous marine scientist from the USA. An alliance of more than 100 conservation groups has identified a list of important areas for protection, including the New Zealand Hope Spot.

What’s needed?

The Hope Spot calls for protection for Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins throughout their habitat, in all waters up to 100m deep. This is the red area in the map on the right.

Protected areas are shown in green. In the dark green areas, dolphins are protected from both gillnets and trawl nets. In the light green areas, gillnets are banned, but trawling continues to kill dolphins. The range of Maui and Hector’s dolphins is shown in red (New Zealand waters to 100m deep, except for northeastern part of North Island). As you can see, in most parts of their range the dolphins range much further offshore than the protected areas. As a result, they are still being caught in fishing gear (in particular gill nets and trawl nets). There are still large number sof dolphins being caught each year.

Who is Sylvia Earle?

Dr Sylvia Earle has spent her whole life studying the oceans and working towards better marine protection.

What’s the problem?

Current protected areas extend to 7 nautical miles offshore off the North Island west coast and to 2 or 4 nautical miles in different parts of the South Island. The problem is, the distribution of the dolphins extends to at least 20 nautical miles offshore. In fact, the dolphins’ distribution depends much more on water depth than distance from shore. If we extend dolphin protection to 100m water depth throughout their range that would make a huge difference. Essentially all of their foraging range would be protected. This is exactly what Dr Earle and the Hope Spot campaign are asking for.

These dolphins are Endangered and only found in New Zealand. They are as kiwi as the kiwi!