The 123cm-long male was probably 4-5yrs old and in good condition, but it was obvious the animal had died in a set net. There were clear indented lines across the dolphin's snout, multiple sharp cuts in the flippers and tail flukes, and a fresh nick out of its dorsal fin.
Although Banks Peninsula is classed as a Marine Mammal Sanctuary, it's legal to set nets for flatfish in the inner parts of Akaroa Hbr from 01 April-30 Sept.!!! However, even in the depths of winter, dolphins still swim in that area.
This ensnaring shows that these set nets are a very real risk to marine mammals, and simply should not be permitted.
It's bloody ridiculous to have a marine reserve at one end of the harbour, a very active and lucrative tourist industry based on the dolphins, and yet allow fishing methods that kill those same dolphins.
Hector's dolphins live only in New Zealand waters, and stick to shallow areas less than 100m deep. Biologists estimate only 7000 remain in South Island waters.
Make that now only 6,999...