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WWF-New Zealand: News

  • Pressure on as Freshwater Rescue Plan gains support

    Freshwater Rescue Plan<br />© Freshwater Rescue Plan

    The campaign for better water quality is continuing to gather support, with organisations representing half a million members and supporters now backing the recently launched Freshwater Rescue Plan.

    Support has been boosted with eight new organisations giving their backing to the Plan.

    The new supporters are WWF-New Zealand, ActionStation, Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand (ECO), New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, New Zealand Recreation Association, Pure Advantage, Waitaha Executive Grandmothers Council, and Whitewater New Zealand.

    Their support means the Plan's backers now include 16 well-known organisations with collective support from at least half a million people. Supporters include leaders in the science, public health, tourism, recreation, community, and environmental sectors.

    The original supporters of the Freshwater Rescue Plan are Choose Clean Water, Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand Inc., Fish & Game New Zealand, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace New Zealand, OraTaiao - New Zealand Climate & Health Council, the Public Health Association, and the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand.

    The Freshwater Rescue Plan was launched in Wellington last month in reaction to the Government's disappointing 'Clean Water Package', which has been widely criticized for being complicated, confusing, lacking urgency and weakening protection for freshwater ecosystems.

    The Freshwater Rescue Plan provides seven achievable steps for the Government to protect the health of New Zealand's people, wildlife, and waterways. Supporters say it is a sensible and realistic strategy to rescue New Zealand's rivers, lakes and streams from their present, dangerously unhealthy state.

    Fresh water is now one of the most important issues facing New Zealanders this election year and pressure is building on political parties to support the Rescue Plan to reverse the decline in freshwater quality.

    The Rescue Plan's supporters want all political parties to face up to their environmental responsibility and adopt the entire plan into their policies.

    The supporters are disappointed with the government's response, saying it has rejected the plan and ignored requests for meetings.

    The organisations backing the Freshwater Rescue Plan are repeating their offer to meet with the government and work with it to achieve the plan's goals which will benefit all New Zealanders' environment, health and economy.

    The plan's supporters say the health of people and wildlife is suffering from widespread freshwater pollution and are calling on the government to show it is taking the degraded state of our rivers and lakes seriously.

    The Freshwater Rescue Plan's steps include setting strict and enforceable water quality standards based on human health and ecosystems health limits, withdrawing public subsidies of irrigation schemes, supporting sustainable agricultural practices, and decreasing cow numbers.

    The plan also calls for better water quality reporting, a polluter pays system, and a long-term goal of prioritising a low-carbon economy for New Zealand.

    If all seven steps of the Freshwater Rescue Plan are enacted, fresh water in Aotearoa can return to the once pristine state that New Zealand is known for.

    Seven steps of the Freshwater Rescue Plan:
    1. Prioritise the health of people and their waterways by setting strict and enforceable water quality standards, based on human and ecosystem health limits.
    2. Withdraw all public subsidies of irrigation schemes, as they increase pressure on waterways.
    3. Invest in an Agricultural Transition Fund, to support the country's shift away from environmentally-damaging farming methods by redirecting $480 million of public money earmarked for irrigation.
    4. Implement strategies to decrease cow numbers immediately.
    5. Reduce freshwater contamination by instigating polluter pays systems nationally.
    6. Address the performance of regional council's on improving water quality through quarterly reports from the Ministry for the Environment on enforcement, breaches and monitoring.
    7. Adopt OECD recommendation to establish a whole-of-government, multi-stakeholder process to develop a long-term vision for the transition of New Zealand to a low-carbon, greener economy.
    For more information

  • Cultivating Culinary Dreams for Young Pacific Chef

    (from left) Chef Lecturer Thierry Le Baut, Amrita Chand  and Chef de Cuisine Paul Vige <br />© Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand

    "This is a life-changing experience!"
    These are the words of young Fiji chef Amrita Chand who graduated on Friday from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand and took home the celebrated Joie de Vivre award. 
    Ms Chand has spent the last three months training at the Wellington campus of the world-renowned culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, as a 2017 WWF-Pacific Sustainable Seafood Project scholarship winner.
    The Sustainable Seafood Project is an innovative partnership between WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Pacific, Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute and the New Zealand Aid Programme. The primary aim of this project is securing food, fisheries and a sustainable seafood future in Fiji. As part of the partnership, Fiji chefs can be awarded a scholarship to undertake a 10-week course at Le Cordon Bleu's campus in Wellington.
    Ms Chand is a 28-year-old demi chef at Suva's Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH), and mother of one. She began her culinary journey at the Mango Bay Resort and Sofitel, before joining GPH in 2014. She is completing an Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management at the Australian Pacific College in Suva.
    "I've had the chance to learn so much at Le Cordon Bleu and there are so many new cooking techniques I want to take back to Fiji," she said. "Le Cordon Bleu chefs are really willing to teach and are so helpful with good feedback."
    A highlight of the course for Ms Chand was learning how to improvise using fresh Fijian produce, for instance using lentils instead of peas, and using fresh local fish instead of imported salmon.
    "And I learnt how to make cheese and better cook with it, which is very exciting as cheese is a rare and expensive product in Fiji," she said.
    "My favourite ingredient is fish which is great because we have a lot of tasty seafood in Fiji – and paired with chili and garlic – would make a delicious Fijian dish, like Kokoda. I'm also keen to create a new recipe for a fish pie."
    Ms Chand's enthusiasm for all things culinary was inspired by her mother.
    "My Mum is my true inspiration. She is Indian but she wants to try and cook many other dishes. She was always experimenting with food and would not give up. From the age of 12, we were cooking new recipes together.
    "My husband and mother are especially supportive of this chance to study in New Zealand.
    "This is very much a life-changing experience as my career goal is to be an executive chef at a small resort."
    The most memorable advice Ms Chand received in New Zealand was from Le Cordon Bleu's Chef Thierry Le Baut who said: "There is no end to learning – grasp everything you can get every day and make the most of it".

    Ms Chand was awarded Le Cordon Bleu's Joie de Vivre award which given to a student who participates above and beyond. This is the second time a Scholarship winner has received this popular award in the footsteps of 2016 graduate Avikash Singh who also works at the Grand Pacific Hotel.

    Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute's General Manager, Jenny Jenkins, said: "Having young aspiring Fijian chefs attend Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute has been a wonderful experience for everyone concerned. Without exception, each of the six scholarship recipients we have hosted have shown a passion and flair for the culinary arts and have contributed much to the school. I hope that the skills they have learned will stand them in good stead for a stellar career when they return home."
    The Sustainable Seafood Project works to build a strong collaboration between local fishing communities and hotels for sustainable inshore fisheries management and seafood supply. The goal is to raise awareness of sustainable fisheries, from fishing communities, to chefs, and tourists who dine at the hotels.
    WWF-New Zealand Fiji Project Coordinator, Sholto Fanifau, said the project was about empowering communities to manage their fisheries well and encouraging the hotel industry to look locally when sourcing seafood.
    "WWF is grateful to have Le Cordon Bleu as a partner, as they have created opportunities for our partner hotels allowing them to creatively develop dishes using local seafood," Ms Fanifau said.
    The Grand Pacific Hotel, where Ms Chand works, has been accessing reef fish from the project site at Qoliqoli Cokovata Macuata as part of an effort to test the community's ability to deliver fish that meets quality hotel standards and also adheres to maturity size limits. 

  • Colombian students support Māui dolphins

    Colegio Albania students holding their published stories and writing books.<br />© Nicole Panoho

    It's a long way from Colombia – some 12,075 km – but that's not stopping the enthusiasm of a class of young students to save New Zealand's Māui dolphins. 
    A class of 16 students, aged six to seven-years-old from Colegio Albania in Colombia's La Guajira region were inspired to join the Māui Dolphin Challenge, by writing 63 stories to save the last 63 Māui dolphins
    The Māui Dolphin Challenge, a WWF-New Zealand campaign, challenges people to fundraise by pledging to do something involving the number 63 to save the last 63 Māui dolphins, the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world. Whether it's walking 63 kilometres or picking up 63 kilograms of rubbish, people across the country and overseas are signing up to take part in creative fundraising challenges.
    Under the guidance of their New Zealand teacher Nicole Panoho, the class goal is to create and write 63 stories in both Spanish and English. 
    "Writing the stories in English can be difficult but the kids are really excited about the Challenge, and have been asking to write stories all the time which has been awesome. They are working so well and are on track to write 63 stories to save the 63 Māui dolphins," Ms Panoho said.
    Originally from Whangarei, New Zealand, primary school teacher Ms Panoho has been teaching internationally for five years, including one year in Colombia.
    "A big part of my goal as a teacher is that my class can really connect with the things we learn about, and that they can communicate their ideas, opinions and feelings confidently," she said. 
    "The inspiration to share the story of Māui dolphins with my students came directly from them, after they enjoyed hearing New Zealand Māori legends about Māui and completed a lesson about interconnectedness of living things. 
    "They understood how humans can have a positive or negative impact on the environment, and that they have a responsibility to take care of their planet. The students felt sad that there are only 63 Māui dolphins left.
    "Māui dolphins are part of the rare, special beauty that Aotearoa has to offer and I don't want to see them disappear from our planet. 
    "It makes me really happy to be able to raise awareness for the Māui dolphins' cause. To see my students being so motivated to achieve this goal and so curious and caring about the world around them is one of the best parts about my job.
    "We want to make a positive effect on the environment by raising money to help Māui dolphins."
    In the words of some Colegio Albania students: 
    "Writing different stories is fun. Helping Māui dolphins is a caring thing to do." (Andrea Fonseca)
    "We are happy to help this dolphin because it is special to us." (Daniel Sanabria)
    "Sometimes it is hard (to write stories in English), but I think it's important to help living things because they are all important to the earth." (Jacobo Gallo) 
    "Māui Dolphin Challenge is a cool thing to do and I am proud to do it." (Isabel Aragon)
    "I think the Māui Dolphin Challenge is fun because I can help animals in other parts of the world." (Valery Daza)
    "It is cool and fun, but it is a little bit difficult to write lots of stories in time. I am so happy to be helping to save the Māui dolphin." (Valentina Arango) 
    WWF-New Zealand Campaigner David Tong said: "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". 
    "Together we're aiming for a world where Māui dolphins are a common sight in the waters of Aotearoa New Zealand, but to achieve this goal we need help."
    This year's Challenge has attracted the support of a diverse range of New Zealanders including actress Anna Hutchison, stencil artist Flox, singer-songwriter Jamie McDell, students from Massey University, iconic New Zealand brands like Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, and businesses like café Dear Jervois.
    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
    3. Get your friends and family to sponsor you – spread the word far and wide!
    4. If you aren't able to take a challenge yourself, you may like to sponsor an existing challenge at

  • Creative Conservation and Community Cleanup for Māui Dolphins

    Kohia Terrace School children showing their Māui dolphin artwork. From back left Bader, Audrey and Brooklyn. From front left Jerry and Reagan. <br />© Kohia Terrace School

    Aucklanders are on a mission to save New Zealand's Māui dolphins.

    An artist, an actor, a café and multiple students and individuals from the Auckland region have joined the Māui Dolphin Challenge. This WWF-New Zealand campaign challenges people to fundraise by pledging to do something involving the number 63 to save the last 63 Māui dolphins, the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world. Whether it's walking 63 kilometres or picking up 63 kilograms of rubbish, people across the country and overseas are signing up to take part in creative fundraising challenges.

    Enthusiastic students from Kohia Terrace School, Epsom​, ​Auckland, are engaging with the Māui Dolphin Challenge by picking up 63 pieces of rubbish for four weeks and much more. The school Challenge team comprises of 27 students, aged six and seven.

    Kohia Terrace School Teacher Katie Williams said: "The kids are super excited about this Challenge. We have done many activities about Māui dolphins, including written reports, art work, and picking up rubbish every day and tabling it.

    "At school our focus for this term is endangered and extinct animals, and we chose to study Māui dolphins – a NZ native and found really close to Auckland, which the children could easily relate to."

    In the words of Kohia Terrace School students:

    "Māui dolphins are important because they are endangered and are only found in NZ! We need to protect them." (Xinyu and Mayoori) 

    "We wanted to take on the challenge to help save the dolphins. Also, we like learning about them." (Enzo and Blake) 

    "Tell everyone to stop littering and pick up their rubbish. And tell the fishermen to not use set netting and make it law!" (Jamie and Chloe)

    WWF-New Zealand Campaigner David Tong said: "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"​. 

    "Together we're aiming for a world where Māui dolphins are a common sight in the waters of Aotearoa New Zealand, but to achieve this goal we need help."

    This year's Challenge has attracted the support of a diverse range of New Zealanders including passionate people from the Auckland region. 

    Auckland-born actress based in Los Angeles, Anna Hutchison (from North Shore) starred on Shortland Street, Go Girls, Power Rangers and Underbelly, and is also getting behind the Challenge. Anna was upset to hear that there are only an estimated 63 Māui dolphins remaining, so for the month of June she is running 63km a week to help raise funds.

    Grey Lynn-based stencil artist Flox is offering up the chance to win a limited edition Flox Sea Walls Digital Print as her Challenge. Every person who donates will be in the draw to win a wonderful print which features the beautiful Māui dolphin. 

    The youngest Challenger,​​ ​four-year-old Scarlett from Waiatarua, loves Māui dolphins and wants to help protect them. She is not only baking cookies and picking up rubbish, but spreading the word about these animals with presentations to her kindergarten friends​ ​and local primary schools.   

    Eight-year-old Meme from Port Waikato is picking up rubbish from her local beach for 63 minutes and is writing a 63-word letter to the New Zealand Prime Minister asking him to help Māui dolphins.Little Island Coconut Creamery and Niceblocks are getting behind Meme's challenge.

    Marayke and Rose from Remuera are planting 63 trees each in regional parks around Auckland. 

    The folk from Herne Bay's Dear Jervois café feel very strongly about the environment and wildlife. They are giving the proceeds from Unicorn White Hot Chocolates to support Māui dolphins for 63 days as their Challenge.

    Ripe Deli (at Grey Lynn) is selling their famous worm juice for $4 a bottle and donating all the proceeds to the Challenge. They are extremely passionate about Māui dolphins, and are raising awareness with their customers and in the community. 

    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

    3. Get your friends and family to sponsor you – spread the word far and wide!

    4. If you aren't able to take a challenge yourself, you may like to sponsor an existing challenge at 

  • International scientists endorse WWF-New Zealand call for government action to save Māui dolphins

    Maui dolphin <br />© Richie Robinson/Naturepl.comFor the fifth year in a row, leading international scientists have urged the New Zealand government to remove set netting (also called gillnetting) and conventional trawling from Māui dolphin habitat, to save the world's smallest and rarest marine dolphin from extinction. The message is clear: New Zealand's Māui dolphins need urgent action now.

    The 2017 International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee report released today again expressed grave concern for New Zealand's critically endangered Māui dolphins. The Scientific Committee agreed that the New Zealand government must support fishing communities, companies and people to develop different kinds of fishing that are safe for dolphins. The report noted that the New Zealand government has enacted "no new management action" to protect Māui dolphins since 2013.

    The report recognised that government action was vital and noted that existing management measures in relation to by-catch mitigation fell short of what the IWC had previously recommended. 

    "The Scientific Committee's conclusions are clear: the New Zealand government needs to step up to save our unique, beautiful Māui dolphins," said David Tong, WWF-New Zealand Campaigner. "WWF submitted a paper calling for the government to engage with fishing communities and suggesting a possible solution – and it's great to see the IWC Committee specifically endorsing this paper's conclusions."

    "No more excuses. Māui dolphins can be saved from extinction if our government ends set netting and conventional trawling across their whole known habitat and supports affected people and communities to move to kinds of fishing that are safe for dolphins."

    The report urges the New Zealand government to protect Māui dolphins across their whole habitat, from Maunganui Bluff in Northland to Whanganui, offshore to 20 nautical miles and inside harbours. 

    "Less than 30% of Māui habitat is protected from set netting and only 8% is protected from both set net and conventional trawling," Mr Tong said. "Prime Minister Bill English and Minister Nathan Guy need to take action to fully protect Māui dolphins across their entire range."

    In April, WWF-New Zealand released a Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) report, which estimated that the government could support fishing people and communities to switch to dolphin-safe fishing in the Māui dolphin habitat for as little as $26 million.
    "Our government can do what the world's foremost scientists are urging them to, while protecting fishing communities' lifestyles and livelihoods, for a cost that is only 0.03% of the government's annual budget," Mr Tong said.

    The IWC report noted that parts of the fishing industry are taking proactive steps towards removing fishing threats to Māui dolphins. New Zealand commercial fishing companies, Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited have committed to removing set nets and conventional trawling from Māui dolphin habitat over the next five years.

    Recent polling shows that 75% of New Zealanders think the government should financially assist fishing people and communities to switch to dolphin-safe fishing methods in Māui dolphin habitat. 

    "With leadership from fishing companies and strong public support, there is a growing momentum to find lasting solutions to save our Māui dolphins from extinction," Mr Tong said.

    "Lack of government commitment is the major obstacle to finding solutions that will work for both the Māui dolphins and fishing communities." 


  • New Zealand takes up the Māui Dolphin Challenge

    Māui dolphins<br />© Silvia ScaliThere's something we can all do to make a difference for endangered Māui dolphins!
    In May, WWF launched the Māui Dolphin Challenge, our fundraising campaign to save the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world.
    Scientists estimate that just 63 adult Māui dolphins survive today. These friendly and playful dolphins, with distinctive black Mickey-Mouse-ear dorsal fins need our help.
    The Māui Dolphin Challenge challenges New Zealanders to fundraise by pledging to do something involving the number 63. From walking 63 kilometres of coastline to going plastic-free for 63 days, people across the country have come up with some truly inspiring creative challenges. The Challenge has been picked up by celebrities, family teams, school groups, businesses and more!
    Together we're aiming for a world where Māui dolphins are a common sight in the waters of Aotearoa New Zealand, but to achieve this goal we need help. You can take up the Challenge by signing up for your own page if you haven't already.

    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
    3. Get your friends and family to sponsor you – spread the word far and wide!

    Here are some highlights of the Māui Dolphin Challenge so far:
    A Kiwi actress based in Los Angeles, you might have seen Anna Hutchison on Shortland Street, Go Girls, Power Rangers, or Underbelly. Anna was upset to hear that there are only an estimated 63 Māui dolphins remaining, so for the month of June she is running 63km a week to raise awareness and money for the dolphins.
    Our youngest Challenger, Scarlett Lilly, is just three years old but loves Māui dolphins and wants to help protect them. She is not only baking cookies and picking up rubbish, but spreading the word about these animals with presentations to her kindergarten friends. Visit her page to see some cool photos of her Challenge!
    "I want to help the Māui dolphins because I love them. They are special to New Zealand," she wrote on her fundraising page.
    Amazing stencil artist Flox is offering up the chance to win a limited edition Flox Sea Walls Digital Print. Every person who donates (big or small) will be in the draw to win this wonderful print which features the beautiful Māui dolphin. She's nearly reached her target amount, so enter soon to be in with a chance to win.
    Our top fundraiser so far is Kiwi business Raglan Coconut Yoghurt. The staff rounded up 63 of their most delicious products and asked people to donate for a chance to take the goodies home. This simple Challenge raised an outstanding $1,500
    The wonderful animal lovers of Paraparaumu College SEAR Group signed up to do a range of Challenges across the year. They started by teaming up with Z Health Studio to do 63 yoga moves in a session. "With only 63 Māui dolphins left, we want to see those numbers rise so our children and our grandchildren can live among these amazing beings," said the group on their Challenge page.
    We've been so inspired by all the brilliant ideas and fantastic efforts of everyone who has got behind the Māui Dolphin Challenge. See all the Challengers here, or sign up for one yourself.

    Keep checking our Facebook and Twitter pages to see some of the campaign highlights, or find out more about our work to support these wonderful animals.
    With your help, there is hope for Māui dolphins!

  • US Intent to Withdraw from Paris Agreement Triggers Renewed Call to Action

    Youth calling for a target of 1.5C in Paris<br />© David Tong/ WWF-New Zealand

    United States President Donald Trump today announced his intent to withdraw the US from the historic Paris Agreement, the world's first global plan to address climate change. This announcement is a call to action to national and local governments, businesses and people worldwide to step up their commitments to address climate change.

    In response, WWF-New Zealand campaigner David Tong said:

    "The Paris Agreement is a key component of the world's toolkit for making the switch to a 100% renewable, zero carbon future. It's bigger than any one country or government. And it's not the only tool we have – cities, businesses and communities are acting now.
    "Last November, over 60 New Zealand businesses, community organisations, and prominent New Zealanders signed an open letter to Minister Paula Bennett, calling for New Zealand to take real climate action. Climate change is bigger than politics – it matters to everyone.
    "So for us here in New Zealand, President Trump's decision highlights the need for cross-party consensus on climate action beyond politics. We need a non-partisan climate commission, a long term goal for 2050, and a plan to get there: the Zero Carbon Act."

    WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice Leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said:

    "The Paris Agreement is the world's collective response to tackling climate change. But the transformative power of the Paris Agreement lies in the targets that it triggers, and nations must hold each other accountable for their promises.
    "A race to the bottom when it comes to our efforts to cut carbon pollution benefits no one as climate change affects everyone.
    "Cities, states, companies and the public in the US and around the world support climate action, and are already contributing to creating low-carbon economies from the bottom up.
    "Fortunately, the Paris Agreement is bigger than any one nation or any one government. We can still achieve the promise of Paris, but we have no time to lose. Countries around the world must seize the opportunity to unleash this potential, invest in renewable energy that eliminates harmful carbon pollution, and build economies that are more resilient, inclusive and prosperous."

    Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund-US said:

    "The Paris Agreement emerged as nations put aside politics to collectively reverse course on this threat to our way of life. The US helped lead that charge.
    "Honouring our commitments and delivering on our promises have been hallmarks of US domestic and international policy. US environmental laws and regulations have served as models for such policies around the world.
    "The Paris Agreement does more than tie nations together around a common vision. It creates a blueprint for cooperation, for political stability, and job creation. Our booming nation's clean energy economy employs more than 3.3 million Americans – more than all the jobs in the fossil fuel industry combined. The players in the real American economy understand we don't have to choose between economic prosperity and a safer future for our families and communities.
    "From big retailers like Walmart to electric utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric to technology companies like Google and Apple, American businesses have been steadfast in their support for the Paris Agreement. Oil, gas and coal companies like Royal Dutch Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and Peabody Coal have supported staying in the Paris Agreement, which makes today's announcement all the more confounding.
    "Pulling out of Paris would make it harder for our country, and the world, to reach a safer and more prosperous future. In a world made safer by agreements between nations, we urge the Trump Administration to reconsider, and stand with American businesses, mayors and governors supporting the Paris Agreement. This prioritizes the jobs and long-term stability America needs."


    Notes to Editors

    The historic Paris Agreement, approved in December 2015, commits nearly 200 countries to pursue all efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C to stave off some of the worst impacts of a warming planet. Under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand committed to reduce its emissions to 11% below 1990 levels by 2030.

    David Tong, Campaigner, WWF-New Zealand. Email: / +64 (0) 4 471 4285 / +64 (0) 21 250 6375
    Louisa McKerrow, Communications Manager, WWF-New Zealand. Email: /+64 (0) 27 212 3103

  • Big Technological Step for Tracing Tuna Catches

    (From left) Captain Thomas Kafoa, Captain Itaaka Atitoa from Ocean Fresh Ltd., Rarotonga, Cook Islands and Malo Hosken from SPC on board FV Zambucca during training for the use of the OnBoard e-reporting application<br />© SPC – Malo HoskenIn 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

    Livia Esterhazy, new CEO for WWF-New Zealand<br />© WWF-New ZealandAn 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

    Activists standing behind their © 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

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