Protecting Māui and Hector’s dolphins has positive economic benefits

22 July 2019

We have commissioned a report from independent research firm, Market Economics, into the economic effects of protecting Māui and Hector’s dolphins.

The study compared the current plan with a protection regime that removed trawl and set nets from dolphin habitat – waters out to 100 metres deep or 20 nautical miles offshore (whichever is greatest), which is essential to save Màui and Hector’s.

This new research shows the benefits of protecting Māui and Hector’s dolphins outweigh costs to the fishing industry. PDF iconRead the full report here 

Act now for dolphins!

Even using a conservative estimate, that doesn’t take into account cultural and environmental benefits, protecting the dolphins would lead to $1.50 worth of benefits for every $1 cost.

Numbers are critical

“This new research shows that not only can we protect Māui and Hector’s dolphins, but that it would be economically beneficial to New Zealand. It only strengthens the case for immediate action by the Government to protect these iconic species” – Christine Rose, Campaign Advisor, World Animal Protection

Market Economics applied benefit-cost analysis and found that most fishing has no impact on Māui and Hector’s dolphins because it occurs outside their habitat.so concerns that extra protection would cripple the fishing industry are overstated.

In fact, protection of the dolphins would see dolphin-related eco-tourism grow from $21.8 million per annum in 2020 to $81.1 million per annum by 2039.

“Instead of costing the New Zealand economy, the research shows an overall benefit from full protection throughout the dolphin habitat – allowing the fishing and eco-tourism industries to both thrive.” – Christine Rose, Campaign Advisor, World Animal Protection

The economic findings come with the release for public consultation of a government plan (until August 4), which should, ideally, protect these dolphin species, but currently falls short. There are now less than 60 adult Māui dolphins, and some of the Hector’s sub-populations also number lower than 50. 

A peer review of the Government's public consultation document outlines a number of key issues. The full peer review is available here.  

Based on fisheries,  tourism, and social value, and governmental costs, protection of Māui and Hector’s dolphin habitat out to 100 metres deep, creates a net positive outcome for New Zealand.

Join us in saving our iconic “kiwi of the sea” by signing on to our submission to the public consultation on the Māui and Hector’s dolphins Threat Management Plan.

Even using a conservative estimate, that doesn’t take into account cultural and environmental benefits, protecting the dolphins would lead to $1.50 worth of benefits for every $1 cost.
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