The US government is considering banning the importation of fish caught in gillnets and trawling in Māui dolphin habitat and have asked for public comments. Please add your voice asking that the habitat of critically endangered Māui and Hector’s dolphin is protected out to 20 nautical miles offshore, in line with recommendations from the IWC and the IUCN.
Māui and Hector’s are the smallest (and among the rarest) dolphins in the world and are only found in New Zealand. These much-loved dolphins are friendly and often interact with surfers and swimmers. Māui and Hector’s dolphins are a New Zealand “taonga” (a highly valued treasure) and are celebrated in their culture and art. They deserve our respect and protection.
They have beautiful coloring with grey bodies and black, round dorsal fins. They are highly intelligent, playful, social and live in family groups. However, human activities, in particular gill set net and trawl fishing, have pushed them to unsustainable levels.
The official population estimate for Māui dolphins is between 57 and 75, and, in 2018 alone, at least four Māui’s dolphins were found dead on North Island beaches. Some of the small South Island Hector’s dolphin sub-populations number as low as around 40 individuals.The problem is simple – much of the Hector’s and Māui habitat is unprotected from human threats and human populations. Areas they live in, travel through and need to survive have limited or no protection. Because of the fishing activity within their habitat, dolphins continue to get caught in nets and drown – sometimes whole families.
Act now by letting the U.S. Government know we want New Zealand’s endangered dolphins protected.
To read the offical U.S. Government consultation, please visit the Federal Register website here.