NZ King Salmon investigate dolphin deaths in salmon nets

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“This is a very rare occurrence for us. We are very open about these things. We obviously regret when they happen.”

Two dolphins have been found dead in New Zealand King Salmon nets in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, according to Stuff.

Pelorus Sound
On November 21, divers working for the salmon farmer were making routine checks of salmon nets when they found dead dolphins at two separate salmon farms in the Pelorus Sound.

One carcass was recovered at Kopaua farm was identified as a Dusky dolphin.

The incidents were reported to NZ’s Department of Conservation (DOC) the following day.

Five types of dolphin cruise the waters of the Marlborough Sounds, including the dusky, bottlenose, common, orca, and the rare hector’s dolphins.

NZ King Salmon CEO, Grant Rosewarne told the publication: “In terms of the amount of fish we produce versus the interaction with mammals, we’re at an extremely low level and a level below that which has any impact on the population.”

New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne. PIC New Zealand King Salmon: “This is a very rare occurrence for us. We are very open about these things. We obviously regret when they happen.”

Very rare occurrence
“This is a very rare occurrence for us. We are very open about these things. We obviously regret when they happen.”

Rosewarne said the company was still investigating what happened but that it appeared to be related to the net set up.

“That led to a pocket that a dolphin then got into, and it sort of panicked and couldn’t get out of. The purpose of the investigation is to determine what did we do, if anything, to contribute to that.”

Stuff reported that the DOC said they had not received any other reports of dolphin deaths from King Salmon in the past five years.

Material impact
Rosewarne said they checked with DOC, who told them that sort of mortality rate would not “have a material impact on the population in the Marlborough Sounds.”

“Regardless of that, we want to get down to never having another one and that is why the investigation is under way.”

The company said they were more likely to find seals in pens.

“We’ve checked the occurrence rate with seals and, again, it’s below the level that would affect the population,” he added.

DOC Sounds added they were working with NZ King Salmon to minimise the risk in the future.