Maui Dolphin Endangered with 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!
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.
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?