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More important ocean areas for whales and dolphin protection identified

Scientists and observers from many different countries have identified and mapped 36 new Important Marine...

Whale meat fetches record high at Japan auction

Sei whale meat is being sold at a record high in Japan according media reports...

Rescuers find young girl’s body surrounded by dolphins

Reports from South Africa about a tragic drowning off Llandudno beach, Cape Town say that...
The Yushin Maru catcher ship of the Japanese whaling fleet injures a whale with its first harpoon attempt, and takes a further three harpoon shots before finally killing the badly injured fleeing whale. Finally they drowned the mammal beneath the harpooon deck of the ship to kill it.  Southern Ocean.  07.01.2006

Moves to overturn whaling ban rejected

Last week, the 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC, the body that regulates...

More Endangered New Zealand Dolphins Die In Nets

Last week, on the 22nd of February, two more New Zealand (Hector’s) dolphins died, entangled in a gill net washed ashore on a beach on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

The two dolphins were found near the Waimakariri River mouth some 30 km inside the northern limit of the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary. Under fisheries legislation, set netting is banned along most of the east coast of the South Island out to 4 nautical miles.

The populations of these dolphins, unique to New Zealand, are being rapidly depleted by being killed in nets. It has been estimated that in the early 1970s there were about 30,000 dolphins. This has now dwindled to about  7000, a huge decrease in such a short time span. These dolphins are listed as “Endangered”, with the population trend rated as “decreasing”, on the IUCN Red List.

WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, is currently in talks with New Zealand scientists, conservation groups and others to develop new proposals to provide effective habitat protection for these dolphins.

These two latest gillnet deaths put into perspective recent research by scientists from Otago University and NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, in New Zealand) that an estimated 23 Hector’s dolphins per year are still being caught in nets off the east coast of the South Island, based on observers placed on 13 percent of fishing vessels.

However, the absence of independent observers in other areas means that estimates elsewhere are unknown.

Unless stronger conservation measures are implemented very soon, the growing fear is that these dolphins are headed for extinction.

Find out more about Hector’s dolphins.
Find out more about Fishing and bycatch.