2 Feb 2016

Fears fishing boat threatening endangered dolphins

2:31 pm on 2 February 2016

Conservationists and deep sea fishers are worried a Talley's boat, anchored just off the coast of West Auckland beach Piha, is threatening the critically endangered Maui's dolphin.

The 61m boat has been anchoring less than 200m from the shore for the past 10 days, using gill nets to fish for tuna.

A Talley's 61 metre purse seiner in Piha

A Talley's 61 metre purse seiner in Piha Photo: Piha Deep Sea Fishing Club.

An image provided by the Piha Deep Sea Fishing Club showed what it said was a Talley's vessel. The club said it had been fishing in the legal zone, two nautical miles out.

Maui and Hector's Dolphin Defenders chair Christine Rose said it was offensive for the locals and a reminder that about three or four Maui's dolphins were killed in nets each year.

"When people are on the one hand delighting in frolicking with the dolphins and on the other hand have this ship right there within a stone's throw of the coast, people are appalled."

Maui's dolphin.

Maui's dolphin. Photo: Earthrace Conservation/Liz Slooten (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It was not just the conservationists who were worried, she said.

"Both local recreational fishermen and residents are aghast at what they see as flagrant fisheries abuse with these massive commercial fishing vessels so close to shore.

"They say it's no wonder they find it harder to catch fish with a line and hook."

Talley's fisheries director Peter Talley said the group's complaints were a load of rubbish.

Maritime New Zealand said if the boat was not fishing then it had the same rights as other vessels and could anchor 150m from the shore.

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