Summer Observer Programme
In January and February this year the Ministry of Fisheries ran a summer observer programme aimed at investigating protected species interactions with fishing vessels. The primary focus was for observers to look at Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin interactions as well as to recover any seabirds that were accidentally caught in fishing gear. The programme was a great success, largely because of the cooperation of skippers and crew who had observers on their boats.
The following briefing to the Minister of Fisheries summarises the objectives of the programme, as well as preliminary results from 963 observed days explaining what was seen and caught during the two month period. The programme was designed to provide a snapshot of fishing activity and interactions with protected species in areas where there has been little data available in the past. The data cannot be used to estimate total bycatch levels from fishing. The accompanying maps show where Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins were seen by observers either when vessels were steaming or fishing.
MFish is working closely with Environmental Organisations, the Department of Conservation and the fishing industry on programmes to manage protected species interactions. The data will be incorporated into these programmes to help us better understand and manage impacts from inshore fishing on protected species.
Summer Observer Programme Results-Briefing to the Minister (Pdf 325kb)
Maps showing where Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins were seen by observers. Note: Some maps are quite large and may take time to download.