Hector's dolphin: a case study for integrating conservation and fishing
- Zoology Department, Canterbury University, Christchurch
Hector's dolphin is a small coastal dolphin that is found only in New Zealand. In the Pegasus Bay/Canterbury Bight area, over 30% of the estimated number of dolphins present in 1984 have since been killed in commercial and amateur setnets. New data show that Hector's dolphin has an extremely low reproductive rate and is vulnerable to disturbance. Females reach maturity at around seven years, and may have at most one calf every two years. Maximum life expectancy appears to be around 18 years.
The seasonal and geographical distribution of these captures is such that it is possible to achieve protection of the dolphins without significant impact on the activities of commercial fishers. A conservation strategy to achieve these aims is discussed.