MPI looking into accidental capture of Hector's dolphins

Media contact: MPI Media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is looking into an accidental capture and subsequent deaths of 5 Hector's dolphins in a commercial set net off Banks Peninsula last month.

Set netting is permitted in the area where the incident occurred and the event was reported to MPI by the fisher.

The ministry's compliance staff are continuing to look into the unfortunate and unusual incident. 

MPI officials have been asked by the Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, to prioritise a review of the existing Hector's and Maui dolphin Threat Management Plan and will work with key stakeholders to progress this work as quickly as possible.

The Hector's dolphin is classified as nationally endangered.

Results from the most recent comprehensive population survey (funded by MPI) in the 3 main South Island populations undertaken between 2012 and 2015 revealed approximately twice as many Hector's dolphins as previously thought.

The population is now estimated to be approximately 15,000 whereas the previously published estimation was 7,000.

Under the Hector's and Māui dolphin Threat Management Plan, approximately 15,000 square kilometres is closed to set netting around the North and South Island.

Bans and restrictions are in place in the areas that were deemed to pose the greatest risk to the dolphins at the time that they were introduced.

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