Maui Dolphin Protection Plan

Maui Dolphin Protection Plan

Maui Dolphin Protection Plan

Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited

Maui dolphins are the world’s rarest and smallest marine dolphin. They are only found off the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, in relatively shallow waters. The species is on the brink of extinction; the last survey estimated that there are only 63 dolphins left over the age of one year.

Set netting is considered the main fishing threat to Maui dolphins, followed by trawling. As the two largest seafood companies operating in the area, Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited recognised their responsibility to lead the way in helping to remove fishing-related threats to Maui dolphins.

Their key challenge was to come up with Maui commitments that were both scientifically robust and would be viewed by the fishers they transact with in the area as supportive of their interests.

Moana and Sanford developed the Maui Plan, which went beyond regulatory restrictions for set netting and trawling. They did this by first recognising the Maui habitat as the coastal waters and all harbours out to the 100m depth contour along the coast, and then establishing some concrete actions that would make a difference.

They agreed on targets for set netting, including a requirement for fishers to use vessel tracking systems by April 2017, and to phase out set net usage in the coastal fishery north of New Plymouth by October 2017.

By 2022, the companies are committed to removing conventional trawling within 100m depth and to ensure that that all innovative trawl methods used are dolphin-safe.

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