A response to the threat to Māui dolphins
On Friday 5th May 2017, WWF-New Zealand launched the 2nd Māui Dolphin Challenge, a fundraising campaign to save one of New Zealand’s most endangered and beloved animals. The Māui dolphin population is estimated at 63 individuals over one year of age, and are only found on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
With so few Māui dolphins remaining, WWF-New Zealand approached BERL to undertake an analysis of the fishing industry within the range of Māui dolphins, and determine the transition costs of moving the fishing industry to dolphin-friendly fishing methods.
BERL estimated that it would cost between $40 million and $75 million across a three year period to transition the fishing industry along the West Coast of the North Island away from set-netting and trawling, to longlining. BERL determined this cost range from analysing a number of optimistic and pessimistic transition cost ranges within two main scenarios. The first scenario assumed any fishing vessel unable to transition left the industry and the second scenario assumed any fishing vessels unable to transition was replaced with a vessel that is capable of the making the transition.
Under the first scenario the estimated total cost of the transition was $40 million to $66 million across a three year period. Within this scenario the cost to the fishing industry and the local community was estimated at between $37 million and $61 million, with the Central Government facing costs of $3 million to $5 million in benefits and re-training payments to tertiary education providers.
The second scenario the estimated total cost of the transition was $42 million to $75 million across a three year period. Within this scenario the cost to the fishing industry and the local community was estimated at between $16 million and $35 million, with the Central Government providing financing of between $26 million to $40 million to the fishing industry to fund the replacement of commercial fishing vessels unable to transition.
The full report and two-page summary are available on the WWF-New Zealand website (http://www.wwf.org.nz/maui_dolphin/index.cfm).