Video: Endangered Dolphin Caught Dead Shows Reality Of Bycatch At Sea

In a video that has surfaced from 2012, it shows two fisherman pulling dead Hector’s dolphins aboard a set net vessel, disentangling it from the net, dragging it across the deck and discarding it back into the sea to return to fishing as though nothing happened. The video shows the dangerous and disturbing reality that marine animals face when they are a product of bycatch.

Often regarded as intrusive their fishing practices, endangered species such as the Hector dolphins shown in the clip are at great risk and their well-being is often not considered and these actions are causing the Hector’s and Māui dolphins to the verge of extinction.

“What we are seeing here is all the more disturbing because of the casual manner in which the situation is handled by the fishermen,” says NABU International’s Chief Executive Thomas Tennhardt. “Earlier this year, over 150,000 people from around the globe signed our petition calling on the New Zealand government to protect Māui dolphins now. Tit wouldn’t take much, but if the government continues to turn its back on science and public opinion, the dolphins’ extinction is simply a matter of time.”

“NABU International has been calling on successive governments to ban harmful set and trawl nets in the dolphins’ habitat since 2009.”, says Dr Barbara Maas, Head of Endangered Species Conservation at NABU International. “Then there were still 111 Māui dolphins. Now we are down to about half that number as dolphin after dolphin dies in nets. Separating dolphins and nets and transitioning affected fishermen to environmentally sustainable fishing methods or alternative livelihoods is critical if the Māui and Hector’s dolphins are to have a future.”
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) scientists have also increased the urgency in pushing New Zealand to take action in protecting the endangered species, stating that “no new management action regarding the Māui dolphin has been enacted since 2013”. The IWC is pushing New Zealand to eliminate dolphin bycatch through implementation of immediate set net and trawl fishery closures that extend 20 nautical miles offshore from Maunganui bluff to Whanganui and include all harbors.


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