Christine Rose: Protecting New Zealand’s Endangered Dolphins and Animals World Wide

Interviewed by

Lisa Er

Christine Rose: Protecting New Zealand’s Endangered Dolphins and Animals World Wide

Christine Rose is a Campaign Advisor for World Animal Protection, continuing her decades-long advocacy for better protection for Māui and Hector's dolphins.

Christine Rose is a Campaign Advisor for World Animal Protection, continuing her decades-long advocacy for better protection for Māui and Hector's dolphins.

In her role in this global animal welfare organisation, Christine applies her knowledge of politics and love of philosophy into 'the new frontier' of animal ethics, working to move the world for animals' welfare and rights.

The New Zealand Government has now released the public consultation draft for its Threat Management Plan, TMP, for Māui and Hector's dolphins – New Zealand’s only endemic dolphin species, and among the world’s most endangered. The proposed plan doesn't go far enough she says. It fails to protect all habitat for all Māui and Hector's sub-populations.

You can make a submission below by August 19, 2019.

MAUI AND HECTOR’S DOLPHINS

Māui and Hector’s are the smallest (and among the rarest) dolphins in the world and are only found in New Zealand. These much-loved dolphins are friendly and often interact with surfers and swimmers.

Māui and Hector’s dolphins are a New Zealand “taonga” (a highly valued treasure) and are celebrated in our culture and art. They deserve our respect and protection.

The official population estimate for Māui dolphins is about 57 and, in 2018 alone, at least four Māui’s dolphins were found dead on North Island beaches. Some of the small South Island Hector’s dolphin sub-populations number as low as 40 individuals. The problem is simple – much of the Hector’s and Māui habitat is unprotected from human threats and human populations. Areas they live in, travel through and need to survive have limited or no protection. Because of the fishing activity within their habitat, dolphins continue to get caught in nets and drown – sometimes whole families.

WHAT IS THE TMP - THREAT MANAGEMENT PLAN

The TMP is a plan used by the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand to help make management decisions around threats towards protected species in New Zealand.

The first Hector's and Māui dolphin TMP was created in 2007 to evaluate and manage the risks from threats such as fishing, tourism, vessel strike, pollution, climate change, and disease. Protection measures were established to help protect Māui and Hector’s dolphins.

The Govt only reviews its Maui and Hector's dolphin Threat Management Plan once every 5-10 years and these dolphins are on the brink of extinction. There are only about 57 adult Maui dolphins and some of the small South Island subpopulations are even lower in number.

The proposed TMP doesn't cover the whole dolphin range - it misses out off-shore range to 100m deep, and subpopulations on the North Island East Coast, between the North and South Islands, Marlborough Sounds, gaps around the East and South Coasts of the South Island.

It allows seabed mining and oil and gas exploration in most of the dolphins' habitat. it fails to impose a rigorous and robust monitoring programme. It allows 80-100 dolphins to be killed as by-catch every year. It overstates the costs to the fishing industry of full protection, and understates the benefits according to the work that has been commissioned by World Animal Protection.

It would seem that cameras need to be installed on all commercial fishing vessels.

GILL NETS ARE THE MAIN PROBLEM

Fishing nets have killed all but a third of the Hector's and Maui dolphins. It's time to stop! Gillnets are the most serious threat, followed by trawling.

Scientific research has proven that the current protection measures are NOT enough.

Fishing nets have killed all but a third of the Hector's and Maui dolphins. It's time to stop! Gillnets are the most serious threat, followed by trawling.

SO FEW DOLPHINS LEFT

About 45 Hector's dolphins live in Porpoise Bay in the Catlins, 42 off Otago, two or three hundred in Te Waewae Bay on the south coast, and about 200 off the north coast of the South Island.

Hector's dolphin is rapidly following in the footsteps of Maui dolphin, with their populations becoming more and more fragmented. One after the other small, local population has dwindled, endangering the species as a whole.

These dolphins range to 20 nautical miles offshore, so if protection is extended to all waters less than 100 metres deep we would see the populations grow and recover from the losses they have suffered over the last four decades. This would stop the continued dolphin by-catch (entanglement in fishing gear) problem.

WORLD ANIMAL PROTECTION

Christine also spoke about the four aspects of the work done by World Animal Protection.

Animals in Communities

Animals play a vital role in communities worldwide – and we need to protect them. Christine explains that they help governments to manage dog populations humanely and to vaccinate against rabies, instead of culling dogs. They share advice on responsible pet ownership. They prevent working animals being overworked and abused. They do whatever is necessary to protect animals in communities worldwide, including at home here in New Zealand.

Animals in Farming

Christine says, “The majority of animals farmed for food live in conditions that cause suffering and stress. It’s time to rethink farming.

The treatment of farm animals is the world’s biggest animal welfare issue – and it’s getting bigger. By 2050, livestock production will be twice what it was in 2000. Right now, more than 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year – two-thirds in conditions that mean they can’t move freely or live naturally. We campaign for progress at every stage – from farming to transportation to slaughter.”

Animals in Disasters

It is necessary to move fast to protect animals affected by disasters, reducing suffering and helping governments and communities to recover and rebuild.

Animals in the Wild

World Animal Protection works around the globe to protect and save world animals, and to keep wild animals in the wild, where they belong. They try and stop elephants from being ridden and allow them to be wild animals, for example.

You can find out more at https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.nz

CHRISTINE ROSE

Christine Rose is a Campaign Advisor for World Animal Protection, continuing her decades-long advocacy for better protection for Māui and Hector's dolphins. In her role in this global animal welfare organisation, Christine applies her knowledge of politics and love of philosophy into 'the new frontier' of animal ethics, working to move the world for animals' welfare and rights. Previously she has been a councillor for Auckland Regional Council and a board member for Rodney District Council.

In her spare time, Christine spends as much time in and on the sea as possible. She's a writer often focusing on environmental ethics, and a ceramic artist and painter, inspired by nature and the ocean.

MAKE A TMP SUBMISSION

You can make a submission by either copying the submission below, or adapting it to one of your own, or sign this submission from World Animal Protection – but time is short.

Consultation: Hector’s and Māui Dolphin Threat Management Plan

Submission form:

Contact details - phone number, email

Email to: DolphinTMP@doc.govt.nz by August 19 2019

(Thanks to Suzanne Vincent for writing this.)

“The proposal falls far short of what is required. The best options described do not even approach the levels of protection for Maui dolphins recommended by the International Whaling Commission and the IUCN, or in the Green and Labour Party conservation policies. The options proposed to protect Hector’s dolphins fall even shorter, even though these dolphins are also endangered.

It is essential that the following measures are taken:

  1. A total ban on set nets and trawls from both the entire Hector’s dolphin and the Māui dolphinhabitat - to be applied in all waters less than 100 metres depth: Large numbers of these dolphins are dying in fishing nets. For there to be any chance of these species recovering and thriving, human induced deaths must be reduced to effectively zero for both species. For this reason, only dolphin-safe fishing methods must be used in their habitat. Fishing is the most urgent threat, and these measures must be taken swiftly and decisively: it is not acceptable for fishing interests to prevail in this situation. Research commissioned by World Animal Protection found that in comparison to the benefits to be gained from full protection throughout the full Maui and Hector’s habitat, the costs to the fishing industry are minor.
  2. Cameras must be installed on all commercial fishing vessels to ensure compliance with the restrictions, and to ensure that bycatch is reported accurately: Monitoring is low in some areas, and more dolphins are being caught than is known; it is very important that we have an accurate picture of what is happening
  3. Of these threats, seismic surveying and seabed mining pose the greatest risk to Hector’s and Māui dolphins. There must be an outright ban on seabed mining, oil exploration and drilling from the entire Hector’s and Māui dolphin habitat The severe pressures from noise and seabed disturbance from the activities of oil exploration, drilling and seabed mining, including sediment discharge, must be eradicated from the dolphins’ entire habitat. It is not sufficient to impose restrictions only for new activities, the threats must be removed from areas covered by existing permits. Government must take clear action to prohibit all activities that create disturbance to the habitat, and which could easily result in the loss of these species.

Thank you for the opportunity to make this submission.”

 

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Lisa Er

Lisa Er

Born in the UK Lisa emigrated with her parents to New Zealand at the age of 16. Already politically active Lisa has continued to have a passionate interest in peace, politics, and the philosophy behind what we do.

A primary school teacher for 14 years, Lisa then turned her hand to business and created the well known Lisa's Hummus, which she sold a few years ago. Now Lisa is immersed in creating a better political system via www.theawarenessparty.com

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