WWF-New Zealand is really disappointed by today’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decision to approve seabed mining in the habitat of New Zealand’s critically endangered Māui dolphins.
“By approving Trans-Tasman Resources’ application to mine iron sand off southern Taranaki, the EPA has allowed a new threat to New Zealand’s Māui dolphins, the world’s smallest and rarest marine dolphins,” said WWF-New Zealand campaigner David Tong.
The EPA today approved Trans-Tasman Resources’ application to dig up 50 million tonnes of seabed in the Southern Taranaki Bight each year for the next 35 years. This would produce five million tonnes of iron ore for direct export each year.
“The Southern Taranaki Bight is a precious and wondrous marine ecosystem,” Mr Tong said. “As well as Māui dolphins, over 14 kinds of whale live there, including a newly discovered population of critically endangered blue whales. Scientists have highlighted significant environmental impacts from seabed mining that could threaten these species.
“Less than 1% of New Zealand’s ocean is fully protected from exploitation like fishing, seabed mining, and oil exploration. Our oceans and the beautiful animals that live in them need more protection, not less.”