How To Save Endangered Dolphins

By March 18, 2012Ocean News
Maui Dolphins are endangered (only 55 left)!

Maui Dolphin Endangered with Only 55 Left

Maui Dolphins are endangered (only 55 left)!

Yes…that’s right, the Maui Dolphin located off the northwest coast of New Zealand is in danger from going extinct with a recent population survey counting the number of individuals as 55. The last survey counted them at 111 individuals but obviously the major threats keep dwindling the population. So what can they do to stop the population from going extinct and making sure the population goes up…simple…

Take away the human threats to the dolphins!

Endangered Precedent

A similar process was taken with a type of bird called the kakapo whose population was down at 51 individuals (birds) when the New Zealand government created a kakapo task force; a risk assessment was conducted feeding into a revised recovery plan; and, government provided extra help and funding. This process lead to a reverse in the decline of the kakapo to a population growing over 100 birds.

Obviously, a drastic approach was necessary to save the kakapo so it won’t surprise you that a similar effort is being proposed for the Maui dolphins. The major effort proposed to the New Zealand Department of Conservation is to focus on removing any human impacts on the dolphin population.

The Threats

Research shows the major threat is with nets being set in the water for fishing. Dolphins get caught in the nets because they can’t see them in the water column. Once they get caught, they are entangled within the net, and cannot get to the surface to breathe so they end up drowning. So the Department of Conservation and the Primary Industries are proposing to ban setting nets in the water column to reduce the number of incidents of dolphin entanglements.

The government is further proposing to set limitations on the amount of seismic activity conducted around the area. Unfortunately, there a couple of fishing organizations that are against the ban on setting nets to protect the dolphins as they feel it will decrease the amount of money they will make. The petroleum board in the area came out supporting the proposal of limiting seismic exploration as they recognized that an extra effort was necessary to ensure the dolphins will be saved.

Back To Nets

To further ensure nets are not set in the water, an observer (a person on board a fishing vessel) should be placed on each fishing vessel to ensure that the ban is followed. The ban on nets is great, but the fact that it will only be done until the species becomes larger in numbers seems a bit short sighted to me. If the ban works and the population grows, then should the ban be kept to make sure we don’t get back in the same situation?

This is How You Save Dolphins

Question of the Day:

Should setting nets be banned all the time?

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Tabitha Lloyd says:

    The story of this species is very sad. Do they already have an IUCN classification as critically endangered? If not they should have it. Urgent action needs to be taken or they could be lost forever.
    Obviously fishing practices are the major threat to the species. What kind of awareness is there in the fishing community that their activities are losing a species? Can they impose fines for incidental catches of the dolphins? Could they place limited fishing licences until the species recovers so there are no more incidental catches and mortalities? Is there a by-catch reduction device which could be used to stop the dolphins being caught?
    Can the remaining individuals or a breeding pair be relocated to a safer area to alow the species to recover?
    I hope that action like these measures can be taken to prevent loss of the entire species, it does sound very grim, please help save this species!

  • Michele Harrod says:

    Check this out, nets should be BANNED alright!!
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/6584263/Five-tonnes-of-snapper-wasted

  • Zoe Helene says:

    It seems to me that the NZ government will only listen to hardcore numbers — as in loss of revenue to NZ due to ‘brand’ switching from “100% Pure” to “World Leader in Extinction”. The track record is NOT GOOD. Not good at all. I am so, so on this.

  • Kobe Nakaya says:

    i think that they should keep all the dolphins in a aquarium so they are all safe and sound.

  • milad says:

    thnks for this

  • sara! says:

    I think we must eat them!!!!!!!!!!
    isn’t that the best idea to get off this problem let me finish u from this!!!!!!!!

  • Good idea Andrew, and also my suggestion is New Zealand government should not allow the fishing for particular period of time…

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