The Hector's dolphin of New Zealand has one of the smallest ranges of any dolphin, and numbers have been plummeting. A separate subspecies of the Hector’s dolphin, the Maui's dolphin, is probably the most endangered dolphin in the world. Only 55 Maui's dolphins are left.
These dolphins face many threats but the worst comes from lethal fishing methods. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature records that 60% of dead Hector's dolphins whose cause of death could be determined had died in gill nets. Gill nets and trawl nets kill so many that the species will disappear for good unless urgent action is taken.
The solution is so simple that the New Zealand government has little excuse for not implementing it immediately. Maui's and the other Hector's dolphins have tiny ranges; all that is needed is a ban on these nets where the dolphins swim. The costs of losing a species far outweigh the dubious benefits of catching a few extra fish.
We the undersigned ask that you introduce an immediate ban on the use of gillnets and trawl nets within the entire range of the Hector's dolphin, including the critically endangered Maui's subspecies. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature states that the numbers of dolphins accidentally killed by these fishing methods is simply not sustainable. Given the extremely restricted range of these dolphins, such a ban would not be difficult to implement. Letting a unique and charismatic species become extinct for the sake of catching a few extra fish would be an ecological and public relations nightmare.
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