Proposed variation to the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary

Submissions have closed. Get information on the outcome of this consultation.

Due to concerns about the future viability of the critically endangered Māui dolphin population, the Minister of Conservation has asked the Department of Conservation (DOC) to consult on a proposal to vary the existing West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

DOC is now seeking submissions on the Minister’s intention to vary the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary to prohibit commercial and recreational set net fishing between two and seven nautical miles offshore between Pariokariwa Point and the Waiwhakaiho River, Taranaki. 

Greater protection to Māui dolphin

The purpose of the proposed variation is to provide greater protection to Māui dolphin from the risks resulting from set net fishing (commercial and recreational). The risk of fishing-related mortality on Māui dolphin is dependent on the degree to which fishing activity and Māui dolphin distribution overlap. 

The Minister believes this proposed variation to the sanctuary is necessary under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 for the protection, conservation and management of Māui dolphin, given:

  • the critical situation of the Māui dolphin population (55 individuals aged one-year or greater; 95% CI 48-69);
  • the presence of four reliable sightings of Māui or Hector’s dolphins (three groups and one individual) in the defined area between 2006 and 2013;
  • the susceptibility of Māui dolphin to entanglement and mortality from set net fishing; and
  • the overlap between set net fishing activity and Māui/Hector’s sightings in the defined area

Notification and consultation document

The Notice of Intention to Vary the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary was notified in the New Zealand Gazette on 12 September 2013. There is a 28 day period for submissions.

Due to the high level of interest in this consultation DOC is making a series of background information available.

You can find more information on what the proposed variation to the sanctuary involves including the consultation document, cabinet paper and all the relevant background material here:

Background information - Proposed variation to the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary



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