"New research released by Otago University's researchers say their year-long study shows Hector's dolphins are visiting the tourist hot spot all year-round rather than just during the summer." These dolphins are more at risk from amateur fishing in Akaroa Harbour than had been thought.
The fine, nylon nets can entangle dolphins and prevent them from surfacing for air. Otago University researchers say their year-long study shows Hector's dolphins are at high risk of being killed in the nets. The main cause of death since the 1970's has been drowning from entanglement as bycatch in commercial trawling or in recreational set nets. Approximately 7,200, less than 25%, a Hector's, and only 55 Maui's dolphins remain.
"Any death of a dolphin is significant for a population of only 900 around Banks Peninsula. It is a serious issue and we need Central Government to take some action. These dolphins are particularly at risk of getting caught in set nets and drowning."
Based on those findings, the scientists say the summer set net ban should be extended to all year round. "I think its time to revisit whether that concession was a good idea," says marine scientist Stephen Dawson.
The team, comprising dolphin experts Professor Steve Dawson, Associate Professor Liz Slooten, and statistician Associate Professor David Fletcher, moored three “T-POD” acoustic devices in the inner, middle and outer parts of Akaroa Harbour. The devices logged the high-frequency echo-location signals of Hector’s dolphins over an entire year.
We refer to "...shocking dolphin bycatch numbers", "When a marine sanctuary (Banks Peninsula) is a 'killing field'" here in our LFI News/blog.