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The Government’s response to the possible extinction of the Maui’s dolphin will be under worldwide scrutiny, Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson has warned.
“With only 55 Maui dolphins in existence we cannot - as a developed country - allow inaction to be the cause of their extinction.
“There’s a huge win/win opportunity for ministers Kate Wilkinson and David Carter here. Not only should we be doing everything possible to save the species, but we should also be leading the world by moving our fishing industry to sustainable fishing methods,” Ruth Dyson said.
“We know that consumers are become more discerning – wanting to know how and where food is made. We could market sustainably caught fish internationally to huge benefit to our economy.
“And the by-catch of sustainable fishing practices would be saving the dolphin, unlike the current method, which is killing them.”
Ms Dyson, who, in a written submission to MAF has called for a comprehensive monitoring programme to help protect the Maui’s dolphin and an extension to a proposed set net ban, says the government can no longer close its eyes to the issue.
“The world is looking on. The Ministers have, to date, appeared cowed and compliant.
“They must strengthen their resolve to do the best for both the dolphins and the fishing industry, as well as New Zealand’s international reputation,” Ruth Dyson said.
Submissions on the MAF consultation close at 4pm Wednesday 11 April 2012 with parallel consultation on a DOC proposal closing the following week.