Set nets are invisible to Hector’s dolphins, known to Māori as upokohue. They swim into the nets, become entangled, and drown in minutes. In 1988 an area around Banks Peninsula in Canterbury was declared New Zealand’s first marine mammal sanctuary. Set nets were banned for four months between November and the end of February for 4 nautical miles offshore from the peninsula. During this time female dolphins are especially susceptible to entanglement, as they gather in nursery groups less than 800 metres from shore, suckling their young. Listen to Mike Donaghue from the Department of Conservation explain the threat of set nets.
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Photograph by Stephen Dawson
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Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Dolphins threatened by net fishing – conservationist/Reference number MR880411).