The World Wildlife Fund is considering joining a possible legal challenge to new rules to protect the Maui's dolphin, saying the new restrictions are damaging to New Zealand's international reputation.
The case is being led by NABU International, a German conservation group which says the Government's new measures are inadequate.
New fishing restrictions extend a ban on the use of set nets by 350 square kilometres off the Taranaki coast.
WWF head of Campaign head Peter Hardstaff argues the dolphin's habitat extends well beyond that and the ruling sends the wrong message.
Conservation Minister Nick Smith has refused to comment on any possible legal action and says that Government stands by its measures to protect the dolphin.