Credit: Science Media Centre.

NZ fisheries killing endangered dolphins, US court considering import ban on NZ seafood

Danny and Leah 01/09/2021

LISTEN: There are only 54 Māui dolphins left, according to a leaked Department of Conservation population survey.

The damning report shows in the past five years, critically endangered Māui dolphins have fallen by 14 percent.

It comes as a US Court considers banning New Zealand seafood imports unless fisheries urgently change their ways.

Michael Lawry, a spokesperson for conservation group Sea Shepherd New Zealand, says the US is very aware New Zealand's seafood companies are destroying critically endangered species.

"New Zealand's fisheries on the West Coast is not compliant, and you should not be bringing fish into the US because these dolphins are being hit by it," Lawry told Magic Talk.

Under US law, an import ban could apply if a country was not applying protections similar to those in place in its own waters.

Lawry says all trawl and set nets should be banned out to a depth of 100 metres in areas where Māui dolphins frequent, as recommended by the International Whaling Commission.

He told Magic Talk that fisheries need to look at new ways of sustainable fishing methods.

"Rather than using bottom trawling, which as you know is really destructive and not just to dolphins," Lawry said.

Listen to the full interview with Michael Lawry above.

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