Victory! Court Protects Critically Endangered Maui Dolphins From Seabed Mining in New Zealand

Conservationists are celebrating a victory for New Zealand’s critically endangered Maui dolphins, who were about to be put in serious jeopardy by seabed mining in their range.

The Maui dolphins at the center of this controversy are a subspecies of increasingly rare Hector’s dolphin, who can only be found on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Sadly their populations have both continued to decline and today there are only estimated to 63 or fewer left in existence who are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Unfortunately, earlier this summer their future was put in jeopardy by a five-year permit that would have allowed for the exploration of the seabed for minerals in the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary, which was created to protect Maui dolphins.

Conservationists raised serious concerns about how exploration would be disruprive and pose a serious threat to Maui dolphins, and other marine life in the area, including whales, dolphins and seals, and it could lead to further extractive activities.

The news led to outcry from conservation organizations and the public – more than 176,000 people signed the Care2 petition calling on New Zealand’s Department of Conservation to ensure that no further extractive activities will be allowed in the Maui dolphins’ habitat.

Now everyone who spoke up is celebrating a big victory against this destructive practice. The New Zealand High Court recently reversed a decision by the Environmental Protection Authority that would have allowed for millions of tons of iron sands to be mined off the South Taranaki Bight over the next 35 years after deciding the method of environmental management was illegal.

“This is a victory for the thousands of people who have protested and the 13,000 who made submissions against this awful proposal, a victory for the South Taranaki Bight, the blue whales and the entire New Zealand marine ecosystem,” said Cindy Baxter, Chairperson of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.

The ruling upheld an appeal that was filed by conservation organizations who are applauding the decision

“This is a win for people power and for the whales and dolphins who live in this area threatened by mining”, said Green Party MP Gareth Hughes. “Risking the habitat of threatened Blue Whales and the world’s smallest and most endangered dolphin, the Maui’s for a quick buck went against New Zealanders values and now, also against our law.

Hughes added that the Green Party is now urging New Zealand to adopt a moratorium on seabed mining. You can help by signing and sharing the petition urging New Zealand’s Department of Conservation to act to ensure no further extractive activities are allowed in the Maui dolphins’ habitat.

Photo credit: NZ Department of Conservation

103 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R19 minutes ago

great news

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Georgina Elizab M

Someone somewhere Thinks!..Very Good News

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Richard B
Richard B2 days ago

thank you

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danii p
danii p2 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p2 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p2 days ago

Thank you

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Justin M
Justin M3 days ago

Thanks

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Kathy G
Kathy G3 days ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G3 days ago

Thank you

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Leo C
Leo Custer3 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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