28 Oct 2016

WWF urges new bycatch solutions

2:18 pm on 28 October 2016

New Zealand's fishing bycatch regulations need to be improved, environmental organisation WWF says.

Hector's dolphin.

Hector's dolphins are affected by bycatch. Photo: 123rf

The comments follow the release of the Ministry for the Environment's report on the marine environment yesterday.

Read the full report here

The report found 90 percent of the country's seabird and shorebird species and more than a quarter of marine mammals or species are threatened with, or at risk of extinction.

Of the 32 species and subspecies threatened with extinction, 12 are nationally critical and face an extremely high risk of extinction. These include species of albatross, shag, petrel, and penguin.

More than a quarter of New Zealand's native marine mammals such as dolphins are threatened with extinction.

It also found ocean acidification was on the rise and 17 percent of New Zealand fish stocks were overfished last year.

Other top concerns included ocean acidification and warming and coastal degradation.

WWF New Zealand head of campaigns Peter Hardstaff told Nine to Noon that accidental catch on fishing nets and lines was one of the two main impacts on seabirds.

"On the one hand there are guys out there who try to do the right thing in terms of fishing - but there are also those who don't, and that's where you need the government to step in to make sure that we've got adequate regulation.

"And so there are definitely improvements that we need to make, we need to make sure there are these practical ways to reduce bycatch are implemented right across our fishing fleet."

Mr Hardstaff said the key threats to New Zealand ocean life were climate change, the impacts of fishing and pollution from the land.

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