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21 September 2012
Statement by the Ministry for Primary Industries
The two central government agencies with legislation relevant to Maui's protection are the Department of Conservation (DOC) – which administers the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) – which administers the Fisheries Act 1996.
MPI and DOC consider a combination of the tools available under both these pieces of legislation, which enables an integrated approach to the management of human-induced threats to the Maui’s dolphin population.
MPI is responsible for advising on the effectiveness of measures relating to fishing.
There are extensive fishing restrictions already in place in Maui’s core range, including measures dating back to 2003. In June this year the Minister brought in further interim measures under the Fisheries Act, including bans on set net activity out to two nautical miles on the margins of the existing area near Taranaki. To support this, MPI is investing significantly to better understand the risks to Maui’s dolphins and also currently funding 100% observer coverage in the area around Taranaki.
It is MPI's assessment that banning fishing to 100-metres depth contour, as proposed in the IUCN motion put forward by New Zealand NGOs, is not backed by scientific evidence.
It is inappropriate to close all fishing activity in the absence of strong evidence.
This was the reason for the "no" vote.
MPI is currently working with DOC to review the Maui’s dolphin Threat Management Plan. That entails examining all threats to Maui’s dolphins. It is informed by a risk assessment that drew on the expertise of national and international scientific specialists. MPI and DOC will be seeking input from the public on threat management options shortly. A key priority is gaining better information on Maui’s.
Note that IUCN motions are non-binding.