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Moana backs call for Government help to achieve safe fishing in Maui Dolphin habitat

Moana New Zealand is backing a WWF call for Government to help transition fishers to dolphin-safe practices in Maui dolphin habitat.

WWF has released a report focussing on the costs of transitioning to dolphin-safe fishing in the habitat of the critically endangered species, and called on the Government to assist fishers to transition.

Moana Chief Executive Carl Carrington says the company is doing all it can in the area it operates but can’t do it alone.

“We need the Government’s support to assist all fishers catching inside the Maui habitat to transition out of set netting and ensure dolphin safe trawling,” he says.

Moana partnered with Sanford in December 2016 to introduce voluntary measures to protect the Maui dolphin, which is endemic to New Zealand and only found on the West Coast of the North Island.

“As the two largest companies operating in the area, we realised we had a responsibility to lead the way in removing fishing related threats to Maui dolphins.

“We’ve taken action and now we need to Government to play its part.”

Mr Carrington says, while the Business and Economic Research Report released by WWF focuses on the costs involved, and financial support from the Government is likely to be needed, the conversation is about more than money.

He explains that while, for some fishers it may be possible to transition to alternative methods such as long-lining, this will impact on both the quantity and range of fish species caught. Transitioning to new methods may also require fishers to adapt their catching skills, or have access to different catch (fish species) entitlements.

“This will require everyone involved in the fishery, including quota owners, to collaborate and it is imperative that the Government is involved.

“We believe the Government, on behalf of all New Zealanders, should step in and help fishers remove the threat to Maui dolphins while keeping as many fishers on the water as possible.”