and the importation of 'green dollars' from international
conservation organisations to convince the public these
dolphin are on the verge of extinction due to the use of
nets has clouded the debate. The evidence simply does not
support these allegations.
For centuries Maori and non-Maori have used nets to fish
for food and commerce. When used properly, nets are the
most efficient way to target species that are not easily
caught using other methods; these include flounder, mullet,
butterfish (greenbone) and moki.
If, as some have suggested, the decline of dolphins has
coincided with the introduction of monofilament nets then
a study into the dolphin’s sonic perception of multi-filament
(string) nets should be a priority. A solution that enables
net detection and thus aversion would be a win-win for both
mammal and humans.
MFish has maintained they have no preference for any of
the options in the draft management plan. The reality is
that both DoC and MFish will be providing their respective
Ministers with advice to assist in the decision-making process
and decisions will be made quickly - by early December.
As confirmed during the Kahawai Legal Challenge, the Minister
of Fisheries must manage fisheries sustainably, avoid adverse
effects on the environment and provide sufficient abundance
of fish to enable people to provide for their social, economic
and cultural wellbeing.
Any changes in access, fishing methodology and availability
will have major implications for commercial, customary and
traditional fishers. Let’s hope the public servants
in DoC and MFish remind the Ministers of their statutory
obligations, it’s what option4 and others have strongly
advocated in their submissions.
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