20 May 2010

Cause of dolphin deaths revealed after seven months

1:02 pm on 20 May 2010

A conservation group says the public has been kept in the dark about how two endangered Hector's dolphins died in New Zealand waters.

The dolphins drowned in set nets off the coast of Timaru in January 2010 and off Kaikoura in November 2009.

The conservation group Forest and Bird says it has taken almost seven months to reveal the mammals were killed in commercial fishing nets.

The group has been running a campaign to highlight what it says are the dangers dolphins face near fishing nets.

Its marine conservation advocate Kirstie Knowles says the public should not have to wait so long to learn how the mammals died.

The Department of Conservation says in this case it took longer than usual to reveal the deaths but it did not want to rush and get the facts wrong.

Commercial set nets are only allowed more than four nautical miles offshore, a distance Forest and Bird wants extended.