6 Sep 2012

Fisherman installs 'pingers' to protect Maui's dolphins

9:57 am on 6 September 2012

A New Plymouth fisherman says he has spent thousands of dollars on alarms that ward off the critically endangered Maui's dolphin.

Earlier this year, the Ministry for Primary Industries placed a ban on set nets up to two nautical miles off the Taranaki coast to protect what are thought to be the remaining 55 dolphins of the species.

Fisherman Ian McDougal caught a dolphin in his set net in January this year. He maintains it was not a Maui's but a Hector's dolphin and was the first he had seen in 15 years of fishing there.

Mr McDougall has since bought Australian-tested devices known as pingers which set off a noise at the same sonar frequency the dolphins use, to warn them of the oncoming threat.

Mr McDougall says he has spent $4500 on the pingers and is confident they will work.

He says the set net ban is unjustified but he feels it is important to make the point fishermen are making serious efforts to protect sea mammals.