Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Rare Bryde's whale killed by ship in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf

Whale death in Hauraki Gulf highlights urgent need to address ship strike problem
November 2012. A necropsy on a Bryde's whale found dead on New Zealand's Motuihe Island has confirmed that the whale was hit by a vessel, highlighting the urgent need to address the ship strike problem to save the critically endangered population of Bryde's whales in the Hauraki Gulf. The dead Bryde's whale was a female measuring 14.5 metres long.

New Zealand is one of the few places in the world with a resident population of Bryde's whale. The New Zealand population of Bryde's whales lives primarily in the Hauraki Gulf and is listed as critically endangered by the Department of Conservation (DOC).This is because it is small and reliant for its survival on one location. There are less than 200 Bryde's whales living in the gulf.

Killed by a ship
DOC Auckland Area biodiversity manager Phil Brown said "The necropsy has confirmed the Bryde's whale was alive when it was struck by a vessel and died as a result of the injuries it received. Ship strike poses the greatest threat to Bryde's whales in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. This latest death highlights the urgent need to take action to address this problem,"

16 ship strikes in 16 years
In the last 16 years there have been 42 confirmed deaths of Bryde's whales in the Hauraki Gulf. Eighteen of these dead whales were examined and 16 are most likely to have died as the result of being struck by a vessel.

DOC is working with a wide number of organisations and agencies to address the ship strike issue. The Environmental Defence Society, the Hauraki Gulf Forum and the University of Auckland have convened two workshops attended by shipping interests, iwi, DOC and other government agencies to develop a plan of action.

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