Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Dolphins get song power

Singer songwriter Jamie McDell took her guitar to an Auckland Council meeting yesterday to sing a plea for Maui's dolphins - the world's rarest and smallest marine dolphin, found only in the western coastal waters of the North Island.

The keen surfer and yachtie wrote the song Those Without a Voice after New Zealand's was the only vote against protection within waters out to 100m deep for the dolphins at the World Conservation Congress in Korea last month.

Only 55 adult Maui's dolphins are known to be alive.

Yesterday, councillors soon fell under the spell of the artist, who is signed with EMI, before discussing how the council could make a submission to the Government's proposed threat management plan for the dolphin.

Campaigner Christine Rose said swimmers and surfers reported interaction with the dolphins at beaches such as Muriwai and Piha.

"But their whole habitat requires protection if the species is to survive.

"That includes west coast harbours, in waters out to 100m deep and the dolphin corridors between the North and South Islands."

Council coastal specialist Bill Trusewich said the Maui's population was declining by 7.5 per cent a year and there was a 97 per cent chance of killing a dolphin by fishing in its habitat.

- NZ Herald

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