Net restrictions for areas home to the endangered Maui's dolphins will be extended, the Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced today.
Following a public consultation process, existing recreational and commercial set net bans will be extended along the Taranaki coast from Pariokariwa Point south to Hawera, and out to two nautical miles.
There are an estimated 55 adult animals remaining.
"While there is a high level of uncertainty about the activity of Maui's Dolphins in the Taranaki area, the fact remains that their small number necessitates this action," Carter said in a statement.
"The Government is taking this action to protect these dolphins while the Threat Management Plan is reviewed."
Carter said the Government was aware of the potential impact of the ban on the local fishing community which was why the management plan needed review.
However, Labour conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson said Carter and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson have missed their chance to save the dolphins by taking an approach that is not guaranteed to work.
"The Government has refused to adopt an evidence-based precautionary approach," Dyson said.
"Instead, they have bowed to the fishing industry, ignored independent advice and evidence, and taken an approach that has a high risk of failure.
"Now there is a real risk of the growing call for a boycott of NZ fish becoming a reality."
The review, which will reassess natural and man-made risks facing Maui's and Hector's dolphins, will be completed by November, Carter said.