Assessment of Maui's Dolphin - fisheries interactions
Project: Assessment of Maui’s Dolphin - fisheries interactions
Project Code: ENV2004/06
Start Date: 1 October 2004
Completion Date: 30 September 2007
Vessel Use: Nil
- To assess the risk posed to Maui’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) from fishing off the North Island west coast
To determine the overlap of fishing activities with the home range of Maui’s dolphins in inshore regions of the North Island west coast
Given joint obligations with Department of Conservation for the management of this species, the work will proceed in tandem with proposed Department of Conservation research on Maui’s Dolphin.
Fishing has had an adverse effect on the Maui’s dolphin population in the past. Some commercial set net fishers have acknowledged that they have occasionally caught Maui’s dolphin by accident in the past. MFish has proposed a range of measures to manage the adverse effects of set netting on the dolphins, restricting set netting in coastal areas and within harbour mouths in the known range of the dolphins. Fishing methods other than set netting, and continued set netting in harbours may have an influence on the Maui’s dolphin population.
While there is some uncertainty about the exact number of Maui’s dolphin, now restricted in range to the west coast of the North Island, there is little debate that Maui’s dolphin has a critically low population size. Any additional mortality above natural mortality levels is likely to adversely affect opportunities for the population to rebuild. Accordingly, any fisheries mortality is likely to significantly affect the population. It is therefore important to know if incidental captures do, or are likely to occur in fisheries that overlap with the distribution of the dolphins.
With regard to information about the distribution of Maui’s Dolphin, with reference to the relevant fisheries data, and by examination of the fishing methods known to interact with small cetaceans, such as Hector’s Dolphin, determine which fisheries are likely to cause mortalities for Maui’s Dolphin on the West Coast of the North Island. The research should make recommendations on the scale of spatial management options that can best fulfil the Ministry of Fisheries responsibilities to avoid, mitigate, or remedy the adverse effects of fishing on the Maui’s Dolphin population.
The design of any survey proposed to achieve this objective will be reviewed by a technical WG before proceeding.
This research addresses the environmental principle of the 1996 Act that “…associated or dependent species should be maintained above a level that ensures their long-term viability…” and the strategy for marine environment research “…to develop and apply methods to ensure the use of fisheries resources is compatible with the requirements to avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effects of fishing on the marine environment, to maintain biological diversity and to protect habitat of particular significance for fisheries management”. This project forms a part of the Aquatic Environment research theme ‘…to determine the direct effects of fishing on associated or dependent species…’. This project is therefore consistent with the Aquatic Environment Research section of the Ministry of Fisheries Strategic Research Directions document.
Cost Recovery Information:
The percentage allocation for this project will be attributed to the following Fishstocks according to rule 7 schedule 3 of the Fisheries (Cost Recovery) Rules 2001:
The project is estimated to cost between $50,000 — $100,000.