Three Hector’s dolphins have been captured in a commercial trawl net off Banks Peninsula this week.
This brings to 7 the number of Hector’s caught in trawl nets since December 2018.
'This number of captures in such a short time is unusual and we need to get to the bottom of why it is happening,' Fisheries New Zealand Inshore Fisheries Manager Steve Halley says.
'Hector’s dolphins are nationally endangered taonga and any capture is very disappointing. We’re working alongside DOC to update a plan to manage the threats to Hector’s dolphins from a range of causes, including fishing. These latest captures will be factored into the review of the plan alongside all of our scientific analysis.
'In the meantime, we are talking with fishing companies which operate in the area to better understand how this happened.
'Timely information is key to our ability to protect these dolphins, so it was good that the vessel reported the captures immediately.'
The Hector’s dolphin Threat Management Plan involves a programme of work that includes research, information gathering and initiatives to mitigate and avoid interactions between fishing and dolphins. Following its review it will be put out for public consultation. You can read more about work to protect Hector’s dolphins on Fisheries New Zealand website.
The Department of Conservation, (DOC) will include information about these captures in its Hector's and Māui Dolphin Incident Database, which records date, location and cause of mortalities, where known. Incidents are published on DOC's website quarterly.