Hector’s and Māui Threat Management Plan

Liz Hectors-152-543
Photo: Liz Slooten


Hector’s and Māui dolphins are among New Zealand’s most threatened marine mammals. There are only 15,700 Hector’s, and 63 Māui left in the wild. The latter especially is facing the very real threat of extinction.

This is why we’re urging you to engage with the new Threat Management Plan (TMP) consultation by the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand. They are seeking feedback from the New Zealand public on their proposals to manage the main threats to these dolphins.

This is our chance to show the government that cetacean protection can no longer come second to the economic interests of the fishing industry. If we don’t act now, we risk losing species from our waters forever.

You can submit your responses to a range of important issues through the Fisheries New Zealand website, where you’ll also find comprehensive supporting information about the threats to Hector’s and Māuis.

Or you can email your feedback to: dolphintmp@doc.govt.nz

Our three areas of the most concern are:

  1. The fishing industry:

This has been historically the greatest single human-caused threat to Hectors and Māuis. The document supporting the submission shows that 59 Hector’s a year, along with one Māui every nine years are killed due to fishing.   

In particular, set-netting and trawl nets have proved particularly dangerous in catching and drowning dolphins. Therefore, Project Jonah wants a total ban on set net and trawl fishing in water depths of 100 metres where these dolphins are found.

  1. Toxoplasmosis:

Toxoplasmosis is a bacteria found in cat faeces and often washed into the sea through rainfall. It can then contaminate food and water, and kill dolphins.

We want to see more research conducted on toxoplasmosis, with the aim of reducing the number of Hector’s and Māui deaths as a result.

  1. Non-fishing threats

Humans endanger dolphins in ways outside fishing. For example, boat strikes, seismic surveying, seabed mining and coastal development.

To mitigate these risks, we want to see the extension of marine mammal sanctuaries where such activity can be prohibited. This will give the subspecies a better chance to breed without disruption from humans.

What to do:

Send your feedback in an email
Complete the online submission, remembering to include the above three points.

You can post your own thoughts to:

Hector’s and Maui Dolphin Threat Management Plan
Department of Conservation
P O Box 10420

Wellington 6143.

The deadline for submissions is
19 August 2019.

Privacy statement
By sending a submission you are providing your contact details to the Government who may publish all or part of your submission (including your name) on its website or otherwise. Your submission could also be released to the public under the Official Information Act 1982.


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