12:56 PM Sunday May 19, 2013
Extending a ban on set net fishing around the Otago Peninsula will stem the deaths of one of the rarest penguin species in the world, the native yellow-eyed penguin, Forest and Bird says.
An international review published in the Journal of Biological Conservation by BirdLife International found 400,000 birds worldwide died annually from recreational and commercial set nets.
But the umbrella group for commercial fishers says those figures are exaggerated and any ban around Otago would put a serious financial dent in the industry.
Forest and Bird seabird advocate Karen Baird said there were less than 600 pairs of yellow-eyed penguins left on mainland New Zealand, with about 150 of those living on the Otago Peninsula.