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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:08 pm

Protesters demand end to gill net killing of our Maui

Apr 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

By Damon Rusden and Anthony Scadden

CONCH shells rang out for the last 55 Maui dolphins left in the world when protesters marched through Wellington to Parliament today.

Protesters said two of the dolphins had died in gill nets since November and there are less than 25 breeding females.

Gale McJorrow said at the rate they are getting caught, Maui dolphins will be extinct in three years.

She was one of about 100 people who gathered to say legislation is not tough enough to protect the Maui dolphin.

Speakers included Pete Bethune, Katrina Sabedar from Forest and Bird, Otago University Environmental professor Liz Slooten and a surprise speech from retired politician Jim Anderton.

Bethune, pictured right, who was jailed in Japan two years ago after clashing with Japanese whalers, led the protest through central Wellington streets, past the Department of Conservation building and the Ministry of Primary Industry to Parliament.

Families and activists gathered in a colourful, peaceful protest for a karakia and speeches.

Chants of “a gill net free New Zealand” introduced the main speakers while conch shells sounded in the background.

Gill netting is a common method of fishing for large numbers of species at the same time.

Katrina Sabedar, an Auckland based marine scientist who is an advocate for marine conservation, believes New Zealand needs to take action to stop the Maui dolphin becoming extinct.

“It is really important to let the government know that New Zealanders are saying no.”

Dr. Liz Slooten, an Otago University professor of Zoology, called for greater supervision aboard trawling boats.

“The numbers of observers on the boats are far too low.”

She said the number of observers needed to increase above 10% of the crew.

Retired politician Jim Anderton was approached as he arrived at Parliament and and asked by Dr. Slooten to speak spontaneously.

MrAnderton was well received by the protestors as a “hero” of the dolphins from his past actions to preserve them.

He said he believed the legislation against gill netting is not as clear as it should be.

He singled out Pita Sharples of the Maori Party as “not doing enough” to protect one of New Zealand’s unique dolphins because of the special relationship Maori have with them.

He added his support for the protestors to protect the dolphins.

“The law needs to be changed to make sustainability our main priority.”

The protestors gave him a letter to deliver to the Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson.

Jim Anderton




















Liz Slooten.







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  1. The world is looking at us and asking what we are doing? How on earth can we hold our heads up when we watch this sub species dissapear. There is no time to waste New Zealand…if we dont act now it will be too late. We must ban setnets and return to a more sustainable type of fishing.

  2. The government is running a public consulatation on the partial extension of sea that’s protected against set nets. There is a quick and easy way to make your own submission on as well as lots of up to date information about the dolphins and why the need better protection to survive. Thank you!

  3. New Zealeand band Gill nets before it is too late. Please be an example the rest of the world can follow while saving your Maui dolphins.

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