the option4 team
This article was originally
written for the New Zealand Fishing News July 2008 edition.
again extremists have invented a catastrophe to justify
First the kangaroo court 1930 "Deer
Menace Conference" led to decades of wasteful wholesale
slaughter of deer instead of sensible ongoing management.
Then the discovery
of the Mount Cook Lily was used to justify wiping out unique
thar, then supposedly 70 million possums devouring our forests
justified a billion dollar 1080 poison campaign and now
this - fishing bans to save dolphins, supposedly devastated
by set nets!
will bureaucrats discover next?
There is ongoing debate whether previous population counts
of Hectors and Maui dolphin were grossly overestimated or
whether there is a general decline in all dolphin species.
the latter is true then we need to find the real cause of
their deaths and implement measures that address those threats.
South Island fishers have been hit hardest by the latest management
measures announced by the Ministers of Fisheries and Conservation,
yet evidence points to increasing, not declining, southern
wants dolphins to become extinct, but putting measures in
place that simply will not help, while causing hardship for
present and future generations, is not smart either, even
if those measures are claimed to help a little.
that set nets are the main threat to Maui dolphins are simply
dolphins die in nets they drown. Autopsies on stranded Maui
show that very few died from drowning, so this eliminates
nets as their leading cause of death.
Recreational set nets placed close to kelp and rocks are
not in dolphin habitat. But idle bureaucratic minds dream
up all sorts of fantasies to keep jobs and empires intact.
what is the killer, if declines are real?
it environmental, habitat degradation?
Floor Anthoni, Director of the Seafriends Marine Conservation
and Education Centre, provides the following explanation,
“Scientists may not have noticed that common and bottlenose
dolphin populations have also declined. In fact, ALL marine
species have declined spectacularly in the past thirty years
and more rapidly in the past decade. This includes both fished
and non-fished water-breathers, air-breathers like dolphins
and even seaweeds.
“In the mid 70s New Zealand's most iconic shellfish,
toheroa, collapsed. By the decade’s end they enjoyed
full protection, yet never made a comeback. Toheroa must be
seen as the coal miner's canary, a warning of future extinctions.
Management measures like total fishing bans or marine reserves
no longer work.
“Thirty years later we are witnessing not only the extinction
of Maui dolphin but of many other species. We have entered
an era of systemic decay of our coastal seas resulting in,
among other things, collapses of almost all of our coastal
fisheries in perhaps as little as two decades from now.
can this be possible?
“When the sea becomes over-nourished with nutrients
the humble bacteria that serve to recycle wastes take over.
They cause death and disease in marine organisms. The water
becomes 'sick' and kills. No species is exempt.
“Historically dolphin benefited from living in the rich,
turbid coastal waters fed by out-flowing rivers. Now that
the sea has become over-fed and 'sick', dolphin and their
prey are killed by the very instinct that served them well
in the distant past.”
Discover more at the Seafriends
our dolphins and the sea
We cannot ignore land management issues, runoff and excess
nutrients in our waterways if we want a healthy marine environment.
Since we all live on the land from where the main problems
arise, we can all help to save the sea and our dolphins.
thing is sure: those who depend on the sea for a living, for
food or pleasure will fully support conservation measures
that prove to work.
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