Public Consultation on North Island Hector's Dolphins
30 April 2002
The Ministry of Fisheries has begun public consultation to discuss future ways of managing the rare North Island Hector's dolphin.
The Ministry has released a public discussion paper on possible management strategies, and will hold a meeting with stakeholders in Auckland on 7 May.
The discussion paper puts forward two options for the management of the North Island Hector's dolphin population outside the west coast harbours, plus a proposal for the Manukau Harbour entrance.
This Option is proposed by the Northern Inshore Fisheries Company. Main points are:
- All commercial set netting would be prohibited by fisheries regulation within 4 nautical miles of the coast from the southern head of the Manukau Harbour to Taranaki Point
- Additional proposed area closures by regulation seaward of the entrances to the Manukau, Aotea, and Kawhia Harbours
- Some seasonal closures in the area from Kawhia to Mokau
- A range of voluntary management measures (eg logbooks, pingers, mesh height) designed to reduce the likelihood of Hector's dolphin mortalities and to provide more information. Based on the agreement of the Northern Inshore Company, these controls currently apply to all commercial set netters. These controls are currently legally enforceable by an order from the High Court.
The Ministry of Fisheries also proposes a variation on Option 1 by requiring the compulsory use by fisheries regulation of pingers and nets with a height less than 20 meshes. These proposed controls would be required to be used outside all the closed area(s) proposed in Option 1 and within 4 nautical miles of the coast from Maunganui Bluff (near Dargaville) to Pariokariwa Point (near New Plymouth). For pingers to be effective, it is proposed that they be deployed at 100 metre intervals along the net.
Main points are:
- All commercial set netting would be prohibited by fisheries regulation within 4 nautical miles of the coast from Maunganui Bluff (near Dargaville) to Pariokariwa Point (near New Plymouth). This proposed closure would not apply to set netting inside the west coast harbours and rivers.
This proposed closed area for commercial set netting is exactly the same as the closed area that is currently enforced by fisheries regulation for amateur set netting.
Proposal for the Manukau Harbour entrance
New information on Hector's dolphin mortalities and sightings has recently become available from researchers which indicates that Hector's dolphin are likely to be more frequently moving into the Manukau Harbour entrance area than had previously been considered. Accordingly, the Ministry proposes that all commercial and amateur set netting should be prohibited in the Manukau Harbour entrance area.
The Manukau entrance proposed closed area essentially covers the waters inside the entrance from Whatipu (northern side of the entrance) to Big Bay (southern side of the entrance).
Stakeholders have until 21 May 2002 to provide written submissions to the Ministry of Fisheries. Before making a decision on the proposals, the Minister of Fisheries must consult with the Minister of Conservation.
For further information please contact
Todd Sylvester, Fisheries Analyst, Ministry of Fisheries, Auckland
Telephone 025 938 179
*The consultative meeting to discuss the proposals will be at:7 May 2002, 1.00-4.30pm,
Marine Rescue Centre
3 Solent Street