Fisheries Infosite

Environmental Issue

 Inshore set nets - Bottlenose, Dusky & Common dolphin entanglements

Bottlenose, dusky and common dolphins occasionally get tangled in set nets and drown.
Bottlenose, dusky and common dolphins are protected species. Bottlenose dolphin are listed by the Department of Conservation as 'Range Restricted', with dusky and common dolphins being listed as 'Not Threatened'. The risk to these dolphin population from set net fishing is unknown.
Extent of the issue
There is a moderate amount of commercial and non-commercial set net fishing in nearshore areas around New Zealand. What we know about dolphin deaths in these fisheries is limited to our commercial fisheries observer coverage (<1%) and self-reporting.
Current management
Set net restrictions have been brought in to address the issue of Hector's and Maui dolphin deaths. The measures include seasonal and area set net closures around New Zealand's North and South Islands and should also address other dolphin deaths in many places.
Future management
Observer coverage on commercial set net vessels has been increased in 2009. This information may give a better estimate of deaths of bottlenose, dusky and common dolphins and will be used when making further decisions around managing set net fishing. 
Documents / links
Abraham & Thompson 2008