Māui and Hector's are among the world's smallest and rarest dolphins. They're only found in New Zealand. The official population estimate for Māui dolphins is between 57 and 75 dolphins over one year old. Some of the small South Island Hector's dolphin sub-populations number as low as around 40 individuals.These much-loved dolphins are being threatened by human activities, in particular gill set net and trawl fishing.
They drown in these nets — sometimes as whole family groups. In 2018 alone, several groups of between three and five dolphins were killed in nets, and by official estimates at least 52 dolphins will die this way every year. The problem is simple — much of the Māui and Hector's habitat is unprotected from human threats.The New Zealand Government has just launched a public consultation process for its Threat Management Plan for Māui and Hector's dolphins.
The consultation will run until August 4, after which the Government will consider submissions and finalise the plan. This is the best opportunity we have to remove and manage the many threats to these beautiful animals and avoid the extinction of New Zealand's iconic dolphin species.Sign our petition to show the government that we, New Zealanders, want our dolphins protected.
This is our ask: the Government's Threat Management Plan must protect Māui and Hector's throughout their habitats, as well as the corridor areas joining different dolphin families. The plan must:
- Remove gill, set and trawl nets from the whole of the Māui and Hector's dolphin habitat out to 100m deep including harbours and corridors between subpopulations;
- Avoid, remove and properly manage other threats within these areas including seismic testing, and noisy marine activities such as pile driving and mineral extraction;
- Monitor and regulate activities to address risk of boat strike and habitat disturbance;
- Apply improved monitoring and compliance including onboard observer coverage and cameras across the fishing fleet.