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NZ’s new plan to protect Hector’s dolphins

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Wellington: New Zealand will implement new measures to protect its 15,000 or so Hector’s dolphins from impacts of fishing on South Island.

“We need to work to reduce the number of these dolphins killed by fishing to as close to zero as possible,” Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said on Wednesday.

Hector’s dolphins, mostly found around the coast of New Zealand’s South Island, are one of the world’s smallest dolphins. Their bodies are grey with black and white markings. They have a distinctive rounded dorsal fin that looks like one of Mickey Mouse’s ears.

The suite of measures already in force includes an extension of the commercial and recreational set net closures around the Banks Peninsula. The government now wants to end the accidental catch of Hector’s dolphins, he said.

It will be aided by the introduction of new tech like onboard cameras, real-time catch reporting and monitoring of commercial vessel location allowing the authorities to better protect these dolphins, Parker said.

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