Editorial: 63 reasons why action is too little, too late

Editorial: 63 reasons why action is too little, too late

Mark Dawson, Editor of Wanganui Chronicle
Mark Dawson, Editor of Wanganui Chronicle

Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas apparently, and I suspect that Maui’s dolphins don’t vote for set-net fishing.

There’s always a good animal story at Christmas, but fishing companies Sanford and Moana NZ, with their loudly-heralded plan to stop killing dolphins, were not providing it this week – despite what their public relations staff might think.

Usually the story follows traditional lines – cute kitten brings Christmas day joy to young child; cute kitten abandonned a week after Christmas … that sort of thing.

And there is always the one about the sheep being tended by three shepherds, the camels carrying three wise men … and there is often a little donkey in there somewhere.

This year’s good animal story was the Whitianga harbourmaster Mat Collicott breaching Conservation Department regulations as he helped save an orca whale entangled in a crayfish pot (yes, the good old fishing industry again) and close to death.

Mat’s a hero – oh, and yes, he’s been stood down from his job by DoC for getting involved.

Meanwhile, Sanford and Moana NZ have come up with a scheme to limit the number of Maui’s they bump off, and it has a timeline stretching to 2022.

Bizarrely, they have had praise heaped on them, and the TV news delivered them a PR coup.

The question is: Why did they wait until there were just 63 Maui’s dolphins left before taking action?

And why hasn’t the government done more to protect the world’s smallest and rarest marine dolphin?

The answer is that they are not important enough; they are too far down the food chain and the priority chain.

If it is the price of saving these creatures, I will gladly give up eating fish.

Call me a softie, but every time a species is homo sapien-ised into extinction, the world seems a poorer place.

I have this strange notion that Maui’s dolphins have as much right to exist on this planet as we have.

- Wanganui Chronicle

Published at Sat, 17 Dec 2016 19:17:06 +0000

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