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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Fiordland bottlenose dolphins

During this year's IWC meeting I noted a serious conservation issue that had been recognised with regards to a unique bottlenose dolphin found in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland (in my home nation of New Zealand). I was surprised to see this news, given that New Zealand's politicians consistently choose to take the moral high ground regarding cetacean conservation issues.

Today I found that David Lusseau, author of the study that I noted earlier this year, projecting the extinction of the population if appropriate conservation measures are not taken, has created a blog dedicated to the fiordland bottlenose dolphins. If you feel so inclined, please visit the blog and have a read.

Again, from page 64 of the 2006 Scientific Committee report:
The Committee agrees that there appears to be a significant impact from whalewatching and vessel traffic on this critically small bottlenose dolphin population. It recommends that the Government of New Zealand increases protection for this population and other bottlenose dolphin populations in Fiordland as a matter of urgency.
I'm not sure what exactly the situation is here with the government and Department of Conservation. Hopefully Lusseau can provide an update about what actions (if any) DoC has taken to address this issue.

Last week a completely unique species of cetacean, the Baiji, found only in the Yangtze river in China, was declared "functionally extinct". The shocking thing for me was that since childhood, the New Zealand media had frequently made me aware of the "save the whales" movement, which continues today, but I had never once heard of the Baiji, which is now extinct. On the other hand, the minke whale species, long targeted in the Antarctic by whaling operations, is not likely to go extinct anytime soon due to current levels of anthropogenic removal. I am hoping that we will not see a repeat of the Baiji extinction with this bottlenose dolphin population in my birthplace of New Zealand.

I have visited Fiordland once. It is an amazing place. Hopefully it will remain every bit as amazing in the future as well.

UPDATE [23:45]: David Lusseau was quick to respond to my inquiry:
While DoC has verbally reacted to the IWC statement, 6 months later there is still no concrete steps taken towards real protection.
Perhaps it's time to write another email to Chris Carter ...

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