A fisher in Pegasus Bay has reported the death of three Hector’s dolphins in a trawl net on Monday.

Chief executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Dr Jeremy Helson, said this was a regrettable and unprecedented run of deaths and, while within the annual estimates of captures, the industry was extremely concerned.

“We are throwing all our resources into finding out why this is occurring with unusual regularity and we are heading down to Canterbury to talk to the fishers involved.”

This capture follows three Hector’s being caught in a trawl in December in the same area. 

Research from the Cawthron Institute in August 2016 estimated the total South Island population at almost 15,000. The research has been peer-reviewed and endorsed by government scientists. The Hector’s dolphin is classified as nationally endangered.

A review of the Hector’s and Maui dolphin Threat Management Plan is underway and has the full cooperation of the industry.

8000 hectares of marine space is closed to trawl fishing and 15,000 square kilometres is closed to set netting because it is known dolphin territory.

In all recent incidents the fishers were operating legally and self-reported the deaths to the Department of Conservation, as required.


For more details contact:
Lesley Hamilton
(04) 802 1506
027 490 1345