18 Dec 2009

Worries held about dolphins and new mussel farms

3:11 pm on 18 December 2009

Conservationists say South Island Hector's dolphins will be threatened by the approval of 10 new marine farms.

The Ministry of Fisheries has approved mussel farm developments off Pegasus Bay north of Banks Peninsula, in Clifford Bay on Marlborough's east coast, and at eight sites in the Marlborough Sounds.

The Royal New Zealand Forest and Bird Protection says dolphins can become entangled in marine farms

It says there are only about 8,000 Hector's dolphins in New Zealand waters. Banks Peninsula has one of the largest populations.

But the mussel farm applicants say research and monitoring has shown there will be very little risk to the survival of the dolphins.