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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

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Risso's dolphin at surface

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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

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Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

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WDC raises plight of New Zealand dolphin at scientific meeting

WDC has a small but hardworking team at the Biennial meeting of the Marine Mammal Society taking place this week at the University of Otago, in Dunedin, NZ. At the meeting are Erich Hoyt from the UK, Philippa Brakes from NZ and Mike Bossley based in Australia, all of whom have been involved in presenting cetacean conservation material to the conference.

The Biennial is the most important meeting for marine mammal scientists and over a thousand from all over the world are attending this meeting. This provides an important opportunity for us to network with scientists performing important cetacean conservation work, as well as to meet with other NGOs working on cetacean conservation.

Much of our WDC activity has focussed on drawing attention to the plight of the New Zealand Dolphin, whose population is plummeting from being drowned in set nets and trawls. These dolphins could be saved if fishers used alternative techniques. Prior to the meeting we commissioned research which reveals that the people of NZ are fully prepared to pay extra for their fish and chips if it means the dolphins are protected, so there is no excuse not to change fishing methods.

On Tuesday next week WDC will be running a workshop for NZ politicians and policy makers to explore practical ways to implement protection measures.

New Zealand Dolphins (sometimes called Hectors and Mauis dolphins) are found only in New Zealand and are one of the smallest dolphins in the world.