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Moratorium on Akaroa dolphin swims

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016

No new permits for viewing or swimming with dolphins, whales and seals in Canterbury's Akaroa Harbour in an effort to protect the native mammals.

A 10-year moratorium on commercial operations comes into effect on Friday is hoped to stop the endangered Hector's dolphins in particular from over-exposure to human interaction.

"Hector's dolphins are slow to reproduce and those in Akaroa are subject to some of the highest levels of human interaction in New Zealand," Department of Conservation's Jeremy Severinsen said.

A four-year study between 2005 and 2009 found dolphin behaviours were affected by interaction with the commercial vessels.

"The moratorium will not only halt any increase in commercial interactions with these tiny dolphins, but will free up time and resources for further monitoring and research into the long-term impacts of these changes in behaviour," Mr Severinsen said.

It's the second moratorium on viewing and swimming in the area, following one between 2008 and 2012.

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