Environmentalists are threatening to call a boycott of New Zealand’s billion-dollar seafood export industry unless the government boosts efforts to save the world’s rarest dolphin, which has dwindled to a population of 50.
The Maui’s dolphin, the world’s smallest and scarcest sub-species, is found only in shallow waters off the North Island of New Zealand.
It is listed as critically endangered and scientists from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) have called for urgent action to prevent extinction, including a ban on fishing in the dolphin’s habitat.
While the government has taken some steps, environmentalists say it has not gone far enough due to fears of damaging the fishing industry, making a boycott the only way they can get their message across.
“We’ve exhausted all other avenues of making progress,” Barbara Maas, an endangered species specialist with conservation group NABU International, told AFP. “We’ve repeatedly argued the scientific merits of the case and been ignored.
“So if it’s all about money, as has become apparent, then we need to change the economic landscape in order to make them reconsider.”
The New Zealand government has been repeatedly warned about its lack of real support for the Maui dolphin.