Sea Shepherd claims fishing industry is killing Maui dolphins

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 7 February 2019, 8:04PM
The claims have been rebuked by the fishing industry. (Photo . NZ Herald)

There's fear our fishing industry could suffer after a claim it's driving Maui's dolphins to extinction by using set nets and trawling.

Sea Shepherd is threatening to take the Trump administration to court unless it bans imports of our seafood

Seafood New Zealand says the industry fully supports a range of significant fishing restrictions that have been in place - and working - since 2012.

Chief executive Tim Pankhurst says there no Maui's dolphins have been captured since then.

He says Sea Shepherd's outlandish allegations endanger our nearly $2 billion export industry, and the thousands of jobs it provides New Zealanders.

Chief executive of Sanford Volker Kuntzsch echoed those claims. He told Larry Williams that there hasn't been a single sighting by his boats for a while now, and Sanford runs a Maui dolphin protection plan alongside Moana to eliminate the risk.

Kuntzsch says that Sea Shepherd has been helping in the past, but this action is surprising and seems to be based on 20-year-old allegations.

"I don't know where Sea Shepherd comes from with the sudden introduction of those allegations."

He says that the fishing industry knows that the capture of a Maui dolphin would be damaging to the industry.

Kuntzsch says that none of the fishermen who supply to Sanford use set netting techniques, and they are now looking at dolphin-safe trawling methods. 

"There is a rumour out there that the fisheries have been detrimental to the Maui dolphin, but I can wholeheartedly say that is not the case." 

He says that if the US stopped buying from Sanford, it would affect 10 per cent, or $50 million, of their revenue. However, Kuntzsch does not imagine that Sea Shepherd would get far with their "militant" methods. 

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