Dead dolphin not thought to be rare breed
Updated at 10:26 pm on 9 May 2012
The Department of Conservation says tests on a dead dolphin found on the Taranaki coast suggest that it is not a rare Maui's dolphin and that it died of natural causes.
DoC says DNA analysis indicates it is a Hector's dolphin, but full results are not expected for several weeks.
When the dolphin was found on a beach south of New Plymouth, conservation organisation Forest and Bird called for the Government to immediately ban set-net fishing - a practice thought to be behind most deaths of Maui's and Hector's dolphins.
Maui's are a critically endangered subspecies, with only about 55 left alive, The closely related Hector's are also endangered with a population of 8000.
The Seafood Industry Council says DoC's findings show that more research is needed before set-nets are banned.
Keith Mawson of Egmont Seafoods, whose company is part of the Seafood Industry Council, says more evidence is needed to prove that dolphins are at risk by fishing in Taranaki.
"Up until now some of the decisions that have been made, some of the media releases that have been put out there are not being based on factual information."
However, Katrina Subedar from Forest and Bird maintains the mere fact the dolphins can be found in the area shows immediate action is needed to protect them.
"We still need to get the number one threat out of the area where these dolphins are found. What this information has shown us is that these dolphins do occupy the areas around Tarankai."
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