Conservation and Fisheries
Alongside terrestrial conservation issues there is an increasing focus on the by-catch of yellow-eyed penguins in the fishing industry
This problem was first identified by John Darby and Steve Dawson in a 2001 paper, “By-catch of yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes) in gillnets in New Zealand waters 1979-1997” (Biological Conservation 93 (2000) 327-332).
Over the last ten years the Trust has had representation on the Conservation Services Programme (CSP), administered by DOC and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and funded by a levy on the fishing industry. The CSP has the following objectives:
- To understand the nature and extent of adverse effects from commercial fishing activities on protect ted species in NZ fisheries waters
- To develop effective solutions to mitigate adverse effects of commercial fishing on protected species in NZ fisheries waters
We have used this forum to lobby for increased observer coverage on fishing boats, especially those engaged in inshore set netting, to determine the true picture of penguin mortality.
Even a small increase in adult yellow-eyed penguin mortality could have serious effects on the long-term survival of the yellow-eyed penguin on the Otago coast. (McKinlay, B. 1997: The conservation of yellow-eyed penguins Megadyptes antipodes: use of a PVA model to guide policy development for future conservation management direction. Wildlife Management Report, University of Otago, Dunedin.)
A recent report by consultant Ursula Ellenberg, “Yellow-eyed penguin – review of population information” (CSP Contract Report: 4350 POP2011-08) speculated that fisheries by-catch of yellow-eyed penguins may be substantial, however the current information available is inadequate to assess the full extent of the impact.
The Trust is engaging with the MPI and the fishing industry to attempt to resolve this potentially significant conservation threat.