Fisheries Infosite

Environmental Issue

 Inshore trawl - Hector's and Maui dolphin accidental capture

Hector's and Maui dolphins sometimes get caught in trawl nets and drown.
Hector’s and Maui dolphins are protected species. Hector's dolphin is listed by the Department of Conservation as 'Nationally Endangered', while Maui dophins are classified as 'Critically Endangered'. Fishing-related deaths of Maui dolphins pose a significant risk to the species' survival.
Extent of the issue
New Zealand's inshore trawl fleet has limited observer coverage. From limited reported and recorded deaths, and from knowledge of the dolphin's range, it seems the greatest risk from trawlers is in shallow, nearshore waters.
Trends are unknown. However, recent restrictions brought in around trawl gear and how close a trawler can operate inshore are likely to reduce the number of dolphin deaths. In terms of Maui dolphins, the restrictions will mean virtually no dolphins will be killed by fishing.
Current management
In areas of known Hector's and Maui dolphin range, there are restrictions around trawling distance from shore and around the types of trawl gear that can be used.
Future management
Observer coverage on inshore trawl vessels has been increased in 2009. Results of this will inform any further decisions around managing dolphin/trawl interactions. 
Documents / links
Hector's and Maui dolphin Threat Manageement plan, DOC [], Risk Assesment - Davies report on website