OSOF is disappointed at the announcement today that the Government will only be paying for up to 28 cameras systems to be fitted onboard commercial fishing vessels.
Commercial fishing vessels at greatest risk of encountering the rare Māui dolphin will be required to operate with the on-board cameras from 1 November 2019.
“The announcement of new funding in Budget 2019 to ensure New Zealand’s fisheries are managed sustainably, compliance is encouraged, and monitoring and verification are increased, is a contradiction in terms with the planned implementation of on-board cameras on up to only 28 vessels” say OSOF spokesperson, Noel Jhinku.
“The underwhelming commitment by the Government and the fishing industry to address unsustainable and destructive fishing methods, and prioritise ecosystem protection is very likely going to cause the extinction of species such as the Maui dolphin.”
Hector’s and Maui dolphins are found only in New Zealand. Hector’s dolphin is the South Island subspecies and Maui dolphin is the North Island subspecies. Maui dolphins are on the brink of extinction with an alarmingly few individuals left.
The upcoming review of the Hector’s and Māui dolphin Threat Management Plan (TMP) to be released for public consultation will be an opportunity for the public to strongly insist that the Government put great urgency on the protection of these endemic species.
“The biggest threat to endangered marine species is the commercial fishing industry’s indiscriminate catch methods, the lack of independent monitoring, and lack of Government commitment to prioritise environmental protection with urgency.”