The New Zealand Government votes “NO” on action to save the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin at the world’s largest conservation summit – leading conservation groups called New Zealand’s actions on the international stage ‘shameful’.
A media release(d 21 Sept) from WWF, ECO, Greenpeace and Forest & Bird states that the NZ govt fails Maui’s dolphins on the global stage at The World Conservation Congress (held at Jeju, Republic of Korea, 6–15 September 2012).
Despite the New Zealand government’s attempt to stop the motion (M035) it was passed by an overwhelming majority.
The Motion details are: M035 – Actions to avert the extinctions of rare dolphins: Maui’s dolphins, Hector’s dolphins, Vaquita porpoises and South Asian river and freshwater dependent dolphins and porpoises.
The resulsts were: Government votes: 117 yes, 2 no (including New Zealand), 18 abstentions. NGO votes: 459 yes, 0 no, 8 abstentions.
M035 calls for the New Zealand Government to: Urgently extend dolphin protection measures, banning gill net and trawl net use from the shoreline to the 100 meter depth contour in all areas where Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins are found, including harbours;
Immediately increase monitoring and enforcement, requiring 100 percent observer coverage on gill net or trawling vessels operating in the range of Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins until bans are implemented;
Report such action and monitoring and enforcement results.
Motions at the World Conservation Congress set policy for the IUCN, providing conservation benchmarks for member nations.
A final published version is not yet available, but the ‘working’ draft motion can be viewed directly at http://portals.iucn.org/2012motions/?q=M-035
Main NZ oposition party, “Labour”, released a criticism of inaction on the issue of Maui’s Dolphin conservation:
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party, 21 Sept 2012; Ruth Dyson Conservation Spokesperson “Government’s craven stance on Maui’s Dolphins a disgrace”
“[…] New Zealanders will be outraged by the craven stance taken by John Key’s Government. What possible justification could there be for voting against the motion to stop the extinction of the world’s rarest dolphins and porpoises? [Due to NZ's “NO” vote on M035] New Zealand risks an international fishing boycott in our waters […] The Minister of Conservation [...] failed to stand up for the rarest dolphins in the world, she’s also allowed New Zealand’s reputation as a clean, green nation to be tarnished on the international stage[...]”
Unfourtunately Labour’s hands are as covered in Maui’s Dolphin blood as National’s: their lack of action served to reduce the number of Maui’s Dolphins to the pitiful 55 estimated to remain of this unique sub-species. They ignored the demands of the same NGO’s they now join in condemning the ghastly behaviour of the current Government. Past Governments were aided by a very limited understanding amongst the New Zealand public of issues surrounding the Maui’s Dolphins. Public understanding has increased over time due to several scandalous Maui’s Dolphin deaths at the hands of set netters and comercial fishermen, not to mention the odd appearance caught on camera phone. Public consciousness has increased also partly due to the difficult yet fairly unsympathetic problems that the current inadequate set net and other bans cause affected fishing concerns (both commercial and amatuer) on the West Coast.
Make your voice heard, write to your MP and to Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Associate Minister Peter Dunne ( email@example.com )
WWF-New Zealand, Greenpeace, ECO and Forest & Bird are campaigning to protect the critically endangered Maui’s and endangered Hector’s dolphins from extinction, and support the IUCN resolution that was overwhelmingly endorsed by members at the Jeju meeting.