Recreational Fishing Council members say they are not responsible for the deaths of two Hector's dolphins that washed up on a beach in North Canterbury this week.
The dolphins were found in illegal set nets.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is investigating, but says the nets appear to be those of recreational fishermen, not commercial.
Council president Geoff Rowling says members take offence to being accused as those most likely responsible for the deaths. He says the nets were set by poachers.
In January, conservation groups renewed calls for a ban on set net and trawling fishing practices following the death of a dolphin off the coast of Taranaki.