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WWF-New Zealand: News
Big Technological Step for Tracing Tuna Catches
In a world-first for tuna fisheries, real-time verification and validation of fish deliveries from sea to port is being actioned through an innovative electronic reporting platform.
WWF, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the Pacific Community (SPC) are celebrating the implementation of this electronic reporting, which has put ruggedized tablet computers into the hands of fisheries officials in key landing ports around the Pacific. This approach, complemented by the new Observer eReporting App for on-board fisheries observers, will provide supply chain transparency and traceability in the Western and Central Pacific tuna fisheries.
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing remains a persistent problem in the Pacific region. This new technology will directly address non-reporting, misreporting, and under-reporting, which represents the greatest proportion of IUU.
Through the recent SPC Tuna Data Workshop held in New Caledonia, 13 fisheries officials from nine Pacific countries were trained on the use of these devices that will provide real-time information on fisheries management in the Western and Central Pacific region. In these member countries, port inspectors are now being trained using SPC's Tails application (an in-port data collection tool) and fishing vessel captains are being trained to use the OnBoard application (to electronically report effort and catch data).
"Getting timely and accurate verification and validation of catch records at the point of landing has always been extremely difficult with a paper-based record-keeping system, but now port inspectors can go to the dock and input information that will immediately be fed into management systems," said Bubba Cook, WWF's Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager.
"This technology links information collected in the vessel's log book, the fisheries observer's report and the port inspector's report, making real-time electronic catch documentation and supply chain traceability a reality, rather than just a concept."
"This electronic reporting technology is changing the game for fisheries management, and we need every tool available to ensure fisheries can operate more safely and transparently."
Following the 2016 Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) Emerging Technologies Workshop (held in New Zealand), WWF and EDF joined forces to support the development and implementation of a Port Inspection Electronic Reporting System (PIERS) that would be combined with applications already under development by SPC (the regional scientific services provider) to provide for a single, durable hardware platform.
"It was a no-brainer for us to support this work," said Sarah O'Brien, EDF's Pacific Tuna Initiative Senior Manager. "Ruggedized tablets, and the associated technology, will support the move towards more efficient data collection systems, allowing fisheries managers to collect more timely and accurate catch and effort data."
"We are very pleased to be able to roll out the Tails and OnBoard applications with WWF and EDF support," said Malo Hosken, the Regional Electronic Reporting and Electronic Monitoring Coordinator for SPC. "This use of mobile technology has already enabled key improvements in data quality to inform management decisions by governments across the region."
Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) Offshore Division Director, Tim Costelloe, said that MMR welcomed the introduction of the tablets to support the work of fisheries officers in the field.
"We are implementing electronic reporting across our entire commercial fleet in the next two to three years, and this emerging technology supports our work in accessing and verifying reports from vessels," Mr Costelloe said. "We are also rolling out the same technology to our Pa Enua (outer islands) officers, to support the electronic reporting from local artisanal fishermen which, in turn, increases the data available to the Ministry and SPC for management purposes."
After the exposure of human rights violations and other illegal activity in some seafood supply chains, seafood market interests are increasingly calling for improvements in transparency and traceability to reduce the risk of their brands being associated with such activities. It is expected that this initiative will lay the foundation for further rapid adoption of these technologies in the region, which are designed specifically to target improved transparency and traceability of seafood products.
Livia Esterhazy appointed CEO of WWF-New Zealand
An experienced and highly connected business leader has been appointed to the helm of WWF-New Zealand.
The WWF-New Zealand Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Livia Esterhazy as the conservation organisation's new Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Esterhazy recently retired from the role of Managing Director at Clemenger BBDO where she successfully led the modernisation of the Wellington-based business. She will begin her new role at WWF-New Zealand on 15 May 2017.
Dr Morgan Williams, Chair of the WWF Board of Trustees, said: "Livia Esterhazy was the outstanding candidate in a large field of excellent applicants".
"We were searching for inspirational leadership skills for the organisation, a strategic thinker with financial acumen, great communication capabilities and charisma, good networks and someone who can strongly advocate the what and why of WWF-New Zealand's work," Dr Williams said.
"Above all, we needed someone with a deep passion for WWF's mission – living in harmony with nature. Livia ticks all these boxes and more and we are delighted with the appointment."
With French, Australian and shortly New Zealand citizenship, Ms Esterhazy is in many ways a global citizen who has put roots down with her family in Aotearoa. After more than a decade managing advertising agencies, she has reached a point in her career where she wants to apply her commercial expertise to make a positive contribution to the wider social good. She is hugely passionate about sustainability and environmental matters, and sees this role as an exciting opportunity to raise the success of a leading brand with conservation and environmental sustainability at its core.
Ms Esterhazy said: "I am so thrilled and excited to be leading such a dedicated and knowledgeable team and iconic brand".
"New Zealand's natural environment is taonga and the potential for a country to truly live out the WWF mission of living in harmony with nature is greatest here," she said. "I'm looking forward to being on this journey and making a very real difference."
Ms Esterhazy succeeds Chris Howe who stepped down as Executive Director after 10 years in January 2017 to take up the newly created role of Director of Projects and Development with the Asia Regional Office of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), based in Bangkok.
NZ Govt Asked to Urge US to Stay in Paris Agreement
© WWF / David Tong" border="0" align="left" hspace="4" vspace="2" />Today, WWF-New Zealand has written to the Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and senior officials in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry for the Environment, urging them to use diplomacy to encourage the United States of America to remain in the Paris Agreement, the global treaty on climate change.
It is anticipated that the US government will decide whether to stay in or leave the Paris Agreement sometime within the next week. On the campaign trail, US President Donald Trump had pledged to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. However, senior members of his Administration have urged him to keep the US in the Agreement.
In response, WWF-New Zealand Campaigner David Tong said "While it's not perfect, the Paris Agreement is a crucial global structure for the work being done worldwide to confront climate change and move to a new, 100% renewable, clean energy economy. I was in the room in December 2015 when it was agreed, and it was a truly historical moment.
"Paris marked the moment that the switch to a 100% renewable economy became 100% unstoppable, not just 100% possible. The tide has turned, and it's bigger than any one country.
"If the US decides to stay in the Paris Agreement, that will be good for US businesses, people, and communities – not just our climate. More American people already work in renewable energy jobs than in fossil fuel jobs."
"New Zealand has been closely diplomatically aligned with the US in the climate negotiations. Both countries are part of the 'Umbrella Group' negotiating bloc. WWF-New Zealand encourages our government to use those diplomatic ties to call on the US to stay in the Paris Agreement."
The Paris Agreement, agreed in December 2015, is the world's first global, binding treaty on climate change. For more information, see http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php.
Join the Māui Dolphin Challenge
What would you do to save the last 63 Māui dolphins?
Today, WWF-New Zealand officially launched the Māui Dolphin Challenge, our fundraising campaign to save one of our most endangered and beloved animals. The campaign challenges New Zealanders to fundraise by pledging to do something involving the number 63. Whether it's walking 63 kilometres or picking up 63 kilograms of rubbish, people across the country are already signing up to take part in creative fundraising challenges.
WWF-New Zealand Campaigner David Tong said the focus of the campaign was saving the last 63 Māui dolphins.
"Māui dolphins are found only off the west coast of the North Island – nowhere else in the world, and they're right on the brink of extinction," David said. "The Māui Dolphin Challenge is about getting as many New Zealanders as possible involved to support these wonderful animals."
This is the second year the campaign has run. In 2016, hundreds of New Zealanders took up the Challenge including yoga workouts, going 55 days without producing any rubbish, and swimming in the sea every day.
"We were incredibly inspired by everyone's creative ideas last year, and it was amazing that together we raised $25,000. And this year we want to go even bigger!" David said.
The 2017 campaign was launched with a video featuring singer-songwriter Jamie McDell. Last year Jamie was among those who took up a Challenge, writing a song inspired by the Māui dolphins and recording it with 55 singers who entered online auditions.
"This year it's your turn to take up a challenge! All of your challenges will raise awareness for these awesome dolphins," said Jamie.
This year's Challenge is off to a great start, having already raised nearly $5000. It's attracted the support of a diverse range of New Zealanders including students from Victoria University of Wellington, iconic New Zealand brands like Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, and businesses like café Dear Jervois.
"Donations, big and small, will be put to good use to help keep fun, playful, intelligent Māui dolphins thriving in our waters," said Tesh Randall, from Raglan Coconut Yoghurt.
Other people already signed up to take a Challenge include three-year-old Scarlett, who is not only baking and picking up rubbish, but spreading the word about these animals with presentations to her kindergarten friends.
"I'll be cycling 63km every day for a week to raise money for our campaign," said David. "These unique dolphins are priceless, and they need all the help they can get."
How to get involved in the Māui Dolphin Challenge:
1. Choose a challenge – no matter how big or small.
2. Create a fundraising page at mauidolphin.org.nz
3. Get your friends and family to sponsor you – spread the word far and wide!
NZ's first conservation/fishing partnership celebrates successes
In the first partnership of its kind, environmental organisation WWF-New Zealand is working with the country's largest Iwi-owned fishing company, Moana New Zealand, to achieve best practice environmentally responsible seafood and advocate for greater sustainability in the wider fishing industry.
Both parties share the same core values and ultimately want the same thing – a future where people live in harmony with nature and healthy ecosystems that benefit all.
Moana and WWF-New Zealand are pleased to be celebrating some of the successes and tangible results achieved since the partnership began in 2014, including action on eliminating the threat to Māui dolphins with Sanford; reducing seabird bycatch; Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification for Moana's pāua farm; reducing resource use, and waste.
By working together, the seemingly dissimilar organisations on the surface can demonstrate how business can be a force for good by committing to doing something different to achieve something great. In this case, safeguarding New Zealand's valuable marine environment, ecosystems and seafood supply for future generations.
"It's great that a business such as ours can work in partnership with an organisation like WWF towards common goals and to jointly advocate for greater sustainability in the wider fishing industry," says Moana New Zealand Chief Executive Carl Carrington.
"We're a progressive company with strong values and working with WWF helps us identify the changes we need to make and challenges us to keep improving. We're taking positive action because it's the right thing to do, and because we want to ensure sustainable inshore fishing and aquaculture in Aotearoa."
WWF-New Zealand Head of Campaigns, Peter Hardstaff, agrees:
"Fishing provides a valuable source of protein for people but it can also have environmental impacts. We all want a world where fish are plentiful and where fishing doesn't harm marine ecosystems. WWF believes working with Moana New Zealand will help achieve this vision."
"This partnership has transformational change at its heart and the ability to deliver tangible, measurable environmental benefits is a key part of the collaboration."
Since the partnership began, in addition to the Māui dolphin commitment, 100 per cent of Moana's contracted trawl and long-line fishers nationwide have been trained in seabird-safe fishing practices through the Seabird Smart programme, the company has been improving the transparency through electronic monitoring, Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification has been achieved for a major pāua farming operation and back on land the company has reduced water and energy consumption and waste.
The Partnership is scheduled to run until mid 2020 during which time WWF-New Zealand and Moana New Zealand will continue to work together to help build a future in which sustainable fishing and aquaculture thrives in healthy ecosystems – benefiting people, business and local communities – and safeguarding valuable marine ecosystems for future generations.
For more details about the partnership, click here.
WWF-New Zealand digital billboard highlights priceless Māui dolphins
WWF-New Zealand this week placed a series of five advertisements on a digital billboard on Aotea Quay in Wellington.
The billboard highlighted the key finding of a Business Economic Research Limited (BERL) report that WWF commissioned, released earlier this month. The BERL report estimated that removing set-netting and conventional trawling from the whole Māui dolphin habitat while supporting fishing communities to switch to dolphin-safe fishing methods would cost government between $26 and $40 million.
WWF-New Zealand campaigner David Tong said "We took out a billboard, and an advertisement in the Dominion Post before that, because we want to make sure that all members of Parliament - and especially key ministers, like Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy - can't ignore its conclusions.
"The BERL report shows our government could remove the biggest threat to Māui dolphins for as little as $26 million - which is less than three years of the ministerial travel budget. It's one-thirtieth of one per cent of the government's annual budget. Nathan Guy cannot reasonably claim that acting to save Māui dolphins is too expensive.
"Māui dolphins are priceless. They are a unique national treasure but right now, less than 45% of these precious dolphins' habitat have any kind of protection from fishing. The Minister, Nathan Guy, claims that this is enough despite two major fishing companies - Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited - committing to phasing out dolphin-unsafe fishing and the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee calling for more action.
"And, since the BERL report's release, 1000 ordinary New Zealanders have emailed the Prime Minister calling for action. Recent polling shows that 75% of New Zealanders want government to support fishing communities to make the switch to save Māui dolphins."
The billboard on Aotea Quay will run from Monday 17 April until Sunday 29 April 2017. Both the billboard and newspaper advertisement were made possible by generous discounts provided by our suppliers.
Technology is Changing the Game for Fisheries Management
Majuro, Marshall Islands: Real or near-real time management of Pacific purse seine tuna fisheries is now possible for the first time in history, changing the game for fisheries management.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and WWF are celebrating the rollout of observer electronic reporting tools – through the new Observer eReporting App – that will reduce Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and bolster supply chain transparency and traceability in the Western and Central Pacific tuna fisheries.
A 2016 analysis conducted by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) showed that non-reporting, misreporting, and under-reporting represented the greatest proportion of IUU fishing, resulting in a USD $600 million loss for the region.
WWF's Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager, Bubba Cook said, "Transparency and traceability are crucial for good fisheries management, and this technology was a significant step towards combatting IUU and securing sustainable fisheries".
"Up until now, Pacific fisheries observers only had pen and paper to make their recordings. This initiative should serve as the catalyst for expansion of these kinds of technologies in the region, which are designed specifically to address the increasing challenges of IUU fishing."
"Once this technology becomes standard and widespread in the region, it should ratchet down IUU to negligible levels when used effectively with other existing and emerging monitoring, control and surveillance technologies – as a driving force in improving the way that oceans are managed".
From 2015, WWF has supported the trial and implementation of the Observer eReporting App developed by Integrated Fisheries Information Management System (iFIMS), into a durable hardware platform. The PNA, a sub-regional governance body that controls the world's largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, was the first in the region to adopt this technology as part of their fisheries observer programme.
The initiative places ruggedized tablet computers and Rock7 Satellite Personal Communication Devices (PCDs) into the hands of fisheries authorities, so they can better monitor fish catches and, in turn, verify and validate catch records and regulatory requirements such as Vessel Days at Sea allocations. The hardware will support one of the most prominent information management systems in use in the Western and Central Pacific at this time: the Integrated Fisheries Information Management System (iFIMS).
"We're proud to be part of this initiative and see the RockSTAR personal communication device as an important tool for near real time reporting of catch and other activities at sea, as well as supporting safety at sea with two-way communication," said Nick Farrell, a Director at Rock7.
The PNA is fully engaged and committed to expanding the work towards better information for management and enforcement purposes. The PNA maintains 100% observer coverage of all purse seine fishing operations and, with support from WWF, the PNA Observer Agency has 100% electronic PCD communications for their observers with an aim of 100% electronic reporting by observers through rugged tablets paired with the PCD by the end of 2018.
"The transition to fully electronic reporting, from vessel logbooks to observer reports to port inspection represents the logical step toward full verification and validation of our supply chain in a real time basis," said PNA's Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn. "
With roughly 60 per cent of global tuna catches, the western and central Pacific Ocean is home to a variety of tuna species that supply markets around the world. Estimates have put the value of the fishery as high as $7.2 billion in recent years.
The role of observers has become extremely important for not just scientists in ascertaining the stock levels of the fishery but for compliance. The data they send to authorities helps to understand the state of the fish stock as well as helping with compliance with fishing rules.
Given the critical role observers play, Pacific nations and other organisations need every tool available to ensure they can operate safely and effectively.
Note to editors:
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), based in Honiara, Solomon Islands, strengthens national capacity and regional solidarity so its 17 Pacific Islands' members (Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) can manage, control and develop their tuna fisheries now and in the future. FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management through agencies such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
- The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is a sub-regional governance body that controls the world's largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery and includes the member states of Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. PNA controls around 50% of the global supply of skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned tuna.
- iFIMS Ltd is a Marshall Islands company that develops and support the integrated Fisheries Information Management System (FIMS) for the PNA, including automated electronic integration with Industry, eReporting Applications and other regional organisations. Quick Access Computing Pty Ltd is the Australian representative for iFIMS Ltd.
- Rock7 develops and supports the RockSTAR hand-held Personal Communications Device (PCD), along with other Iridium satellite based tracking and M2M systems. The RockSTAR Two-Way Messenger is a truly global communication device and tracking system. It allows the user to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky. It works far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Learn more
- Purse Seine fishing is a method of fishing that employs a large net deployed in a circle that is closed from the bottom up by pulling a "footrope" tight, thereby cinching the bottom like a "purse" and preventing the fish from swimming down to escape the net. The purse seine is a preferred technique for capturing fish species that school, or aggregate, close to the surface such as skipjack tuna.
For more detailed information:Alfred "Bubba" Cook | Western Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Programme Manager, WWF-New Zealand | Email: email@example.com | Phone: +64 (0) 27 833 0537
New WWF report: Illegal wildlife trafficking occurs in nearly 30% of world's most protected areas
Known for their iconic beauty, geology, ecology and biodiversity, natural World Heritage sites across the globe support large populations of rare plant and animal species, including almost a third of the world's remaining 3,890 wild tigers and 40 per cent of all African elephants, and function as the last refuge for critically endangered species such as Javan rhinos in Indonesia and vaquitas, the world's smallest porpoise, endemic to Mexico's Gulf of California.
Yet despite their recognised value and protected status, the report found that illegal poaching, logging and fishing occur in nearly 30 per cent of natural and mixed World Heritage sites, driving endangered species to the brink of extinction and putting the livelihoods and wellbeing of communities who depend on them at risk.
"Natural World Heritage sites are among the most recognised natural sites for their universal value. Yet many are threatened by destructive industrial activities and our new report shows that their often unique animals and plants are also affected by overexploitation and trafficking. Unless they are protected effectively, we will lose them forever. Governments must redouble their efforts and address the entire wildlife trafficking value chain, before it's too late." says Marco Lambertini, Director General at WWF International. "We urgently need more collaboration and integration between CITES, the World Heritage Convention and national authorities to lead a more coordinated, comprehensive response to halt wildlife trafficking - from harvesting of species in source countries, transportation through processing destinations, to sales in consumer markets."
Illegal harvesting of species in World Heritage sites degrades vital social and economic benefits. More than 90 per cent of natural World Heritage sites support recreation and tourism as well as provide jobs. Many of these benefits are dependent on the presence of CITES-listed species. Illegal harvesting also alters the natural ecosystem. Around five per cent of the Sumatran tiger population was killed in 2016 alone and if current levels of poaching and trade continue, tigers could disappear from the wild on Sumatra and lead to a reduced incentive to protect forests and result in further wide-scale deforestation for palm oil plantations.
"This report provides a range of options to further enhance coordination between CITES and the World Heritage Convention, focused around World Heritage sites" says John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General. "It is essential that CITES is fully implemented and that these irreplaceable sites are fully protected. In doing so, we will benefit our heritage and our wildlife, provide security to people and places, and support national economies and the rural communities that depend on these sites for their livelihoods."
"Illegal wildlife trafficking robs the world of its natural heritage, threatens local communities and hampers global efforts to reduce poverty," says Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). "This report is a sobering reminder of just how far this type of organized crime can reach, extending even into the supposed safety of World Heritage sites. This is a global challenge that can only be tackled through collective, international action."
The report stresses that enhanced protection and monitoring at the World Heritage site level must be accompanied by greater action to curb demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife products through education, enforcement and prosecution. "The governing bodies of CITES and the World Heritage Convention recognize the need to continue improving interactions between the two conventions, and in order to halt illegal trafficking in World Heritage sites, all stakeholders must unite and take the immediate action required to prevent irreversible damage the world's most iconic places and species" Lambertini said.
Last year, WWF launched a global campaign, Together saving our shared heritage, working with governments and businesses to safeguard World Heritage sites for present and future generations by strengthening the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and pushing businesses to comply with the highest standards of responsible business conduct in or near sites. A WWF report found nearly half of all natural World Heritage sites were under threat from harmful industrial activities like mining, oil and gas drilling, and construction of large-scale infrastructure, with millions of people impacted.
New Zealand civil society calls for bipartisan climate action
"Climate change is bigger than politics," says Lisa McLaren, national convenor for the Zero Carbon Act campaign.
"We need political parties to work together on this and look beyond election cycles."
The proposed Zero Carbon Act will work by requiring future governments to set five year 'carbon budgets' on track to the zero carbon target, and then make plans to meet these. It will set up an independent Climate Commission whose role is to provide expert advice on targets and policies and to monitor the Government's progress.
The idea is based on the UK's successful 2008 Climate Change Act, which has helped the UK cut its carbon pollution by 28% at the same as reducing energy bills.
"We are a decade behind leading countries like the UK. The Zero Carbon Act is the solution we need to get our country on the right track," says Miss McLaren.
The Act will also require a National Climate Risk Assessment updated every five years, a climate change adaptation programme, and transparent planning and reporting on New Zealand's contributions to climate action in other countries.
Forest & Bird, WWF-New Zealand and Oxfam New Zealand are urging people to support Generation Zero's call for bipartisan consensus on climate action.
Forest & Bird climate advocate Adelia Hallett said "Right now, we've got floods affecting not only people, but also our precious wildlife, and at the rate we're going, this is going to be the new normal.
"Cutting emissions is one of the most effective things we can do to reduce the impact of climate change, but we need to work together to do it."
WWF-New Zealand campaigner David Tong said "Setting a long-term goal and establishing a climate commission could be the key to unlocking climate action beyond short-term electoral cycles. It brings transparency to government's climate change commitments.
"It would give businesses, councils and ordinary Kiwis a predictable pathway for our national shift to a clean energy future. Businesses and investors especially need that information to make sensible, future-proof budgeting decisions."
Paula Feehan, advocacy and campaigns director for Oxfam New Zealand said "Carbon pollution is threatening the air that you, me and our children breathe, the seas we swim and fish in, and even the land which gives us our food. And our neighbours in the Pacific, who have caused some of the very least pollution, are those who are facing the worst effects right now.
"All the political parties who care about New Zealanders, who care about our way of life, who care about our Pacific neighbours, should be backing this important proposed piece of legislation right now."
Generation Zero spent over six months developing its detailed blueprint for the Zero Carbon Act and consulted with dozens of experts and organisations.
"Our proposal isn't just a 'carbon copy' of the UK Act. We've thought long and hard about how to make this work for New Zealand," says Miss McLaren.
A key difference from the UK model is the introduction of a 'two baskets approach' for the different greenhouse gases. Short-lived gases (such as methane) do not need to go to zero and will have a separate target under the Act.
"The Zero Carbon Act needs cross-party support for it to work. We will be pushing for all political parties to back the Act and we want New Zealanders from all walks of life to join us."
Alongside the blueprint, Generation Zero has launched a petition to the next Parliament to work together to develop and pass the Zero Carbon Act. The group intends to table this in Parliament after the September election.
New poll reveals Nathan Guy out of step with public opinion on dolphin protectionAn opinion poll published today shows the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon. Nathan Guy MP, is out of step with public opinion on protecting the critically endangered Māui dolphin, said WWF-New Zealand.The recent poll, conducted by respected opinion research company Colmar Brunton, asked if people think the government should financially assist fishers to transition to dolphin-safe fishing methods in Māui dolphin habitat. 75% said yes, 13% said no, 12% were unsure.Commenting on the poll, Peter Hardstaff, Head of Campaigns for WWF-New Zealand said: "We know that the vast majority of New Zealanders want dolphin-safe fishing in Māui dolphin habitat and this poll shows very strong public support for the government to step in and help fishers make the transition"."Instead of getting on with it, Nathan Guy is arguing about where the dolphins live and claiming current measures are adequate, despite a string of scientific recommendations to the contrary," Mr Hardstaff said. "Fishing restrictions cover only about 40% of Māui habitat. The Minister for Primary Industries is out of step with public opinion and out of step with the science."The Māui dolphin population is now estimated to be as low as 63 over the age of one. The future of this dolphin continues to hang in the balance which means the main threats – set netting and trawling – should be removed. The government should be doing the maximum possible rather than the minimum it can get away with."For four years now, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has called for the New Zealand government to take further action. In 2016, the IWC's small cetaceans sub-committee concluded that existing measures fall short of what is required to protect Māui dolphins and recommended removing the known fishing threats from the entire range."We want to see fishing co-exist with Māui dolphins, but we recognise that a shift to dolphin-safe methods will be a major challenge for many fishers on the West Coast of the North Island," Mr Hardstaff said. "We are urging the government to assist with this transition and this polling shows that 75% of New Zealanders think the same way."Research released earlier this week estimates that the transition could cost the government as little as $26 million, equivalent to three years of Ministerial travel expenses.