Urgent action required to save threatened whales in Hauraki Gulf

Press Release – Environmental Defence Society
A Bryde’s whale was found floating dead near Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf on Monday. Initial necropsy results, released by the Department of Conservation, indicate that the whale was killed by ship strike.

“This news is of great concern,” said Environmental Defence Society Policy Director Raewyn Peart. “The whale death earlier this week occurred only five months after the discovery of a dead Bryde’s whale floating in the Gulf last September. It had also been hit by a ship.

“The Bryde’s whale is a nationally critically threatened species. There are fewer than 200 of these extraordinary creatures remaining in the Gulf. Urgent action is required to avoid any further ship strike incidents.

“The deaths are occurring largely because the Bryde’s whale habitat coincides with the main shipping routes into the Port of Auckland.

“We need to ensure that these whales are able to avoid moving vessels while at the same time enabling the port to continue operations.

“There is an urgent need for constructive engagement on this issue so that we can identify and quickly implement an effective solution.

“To this end, EDS will be inviting all stakeholders to a workshop in March, to focus on the Bryde’s whale ship strike issue. The intention is to consider the full range of options, including better control over ship movements and better tracking of whale locations.

“We think there will be a willingness to engage on this issue as no one likes to see whales killed,” concluded Ms Peart

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