Support the Hope  Spot campaign!

Dr Sylvia Earle

The Hope Spot campaign was 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. One of these is the New Zealand Coastal Waters 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!

What can you do?

1. If you go fishing, do not use nets. Only use fish traps, hook and line, a fishing rod or other dolphin-safe fishing methods.

2. When you see dolphins, slow down, enjoy spending time with them. Avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.

3. Talk to your friends, relatives, workmates, members of your local surfing club, kayak club, diving club and conservation groups.

4. 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.

5. Keep an eye out for the Public Discussion Document, due to come out late this year or early 2019 – and write to the government supporting the most protective option. If the public discussion document does not include a sustainable option, we will propose an additional option. For example, if the public is asked to choose between 3 options, none of which is enough to protect NZ dolphins, then the Trust and other conservation groups will propose an “Option 4” that does provide full protection.

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.

Watch this space! Late this year or early 2019 we will ask our supporters to write to the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries. We will need your support when the Public Discussion Paper comes out!