The carcass of a baby dolphin which died a "horrible" death entangled in discarded fishing braid has prompted DOC to urge boaties to dispose of rubbish responsibly.
The body of the dolphin washed ashore at Tāwharanui beach in Auckland at the weekend, DOC said.
A fishing braid had sliced deep cuts in the dolphin's mouth, and its dorsal fin and tail flukes were almost cut in half.
DOC's Senior Ranger of Biodiversity Thelma Wilson said the death could've been easily avoided.
"This would have been a horrible death for this young female common dolphin and distressing for its mother who would have still been feeding it."
DOC and Ngāti Manuhiri as mana whenua urged fishers to bring in broken lines and rubbish from fishing trips.
The calf looked like it had been ensnared in the discarded braid, possibly among weed on the seabed, DOC said.
The type of braid that had ripped through the dolphin's flesh was typically used in pelagic fishing, DOC said.
As fishing equipment posed a significant risk to marine mammals and other sea life, all fishers and boat owners should take their litter away with them.
"It's a timely reminder for fishing operators and boaties to dispose of all rubbish and equipment taken out to sea responsibly," Wilson said.
"We all need to do our bit to keep New Zealand's natural environment free of litter. Litter harms our environment, our soil, our waterways and wildlife."
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