24 Feb 2010

Fishermen win partial challenge over inshore ban

5:53 am on 24 February 2010

Commercial fishermen have partially succeeded in challenging a fishing ban designed to protect endangered dolphins.

The previous Labour Government introduced the ban in 2008, only for the issue to be taken to the High Court.

The Minister of Fisheries closed some inshore areas to set net and trawl fishing in order to protect the endangered Hector's dolphin and the critically endangered Maui's dolphin.

On Tuesday, the court ruled that the minister was wrong in implementing two of the restrictions - one on the west coast of the North Island and one on the east coast of the South Island.

Justice Mallon found that the minister had drafted these rules on inaccurate advice about dolphin numbers and mortality rates.

Four other challenges were not upheld.

Groups including Worldwide Fund for Nature, Forest and Bird and the Environmental Defence Society have welcomed the decision.

However some commercial fishermen expect it to lead to job losses. Auckland fisherman Kerry Torpey says there is a smaller area left to fish in.