Together, we need to make certain harmful human behaviours extinct to help protect our beaches, our ocean, and help save our taonga species, like the Bryde’s whale.
Livia Esterhazy, CEO WWF-New Zealand, says: “We’re heading into another Kiwi summer, and will be enjoying swimming and sailing in our beautiful waters. While we do this, we’re asking people to think about the marine environment, the fragile ecosystem beneath the waves, and our impact on it.
“The Bryde’s whale is an iconic species and a vital part of keeping the ecosystem healthy. The Bryde’s is also a taonga species for us, and it’s in trouble. We need to help protect it, and we absolutely can by making our own harmful behaviours extinct.”
The Bryde’s whale (pronounced Broo-dus) is a giant, playful mammal, a panda of the ocean. It spends its life in the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te
Moana-nui-ā-Toi, one of only three places in the world with a resident whale population, preferring to stay here rather than migrate with the seasons.
But the Bryde’s habitat has been negatively impacted by the compounding effects of climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Now, it is a ‘Nationally Critical’ species and may be facing local extinction with only 135 left.
The decline of the Bryde’s and its habitat is due to the impact we all have on our environment.
We are currently taking more fish commercially than before the Hauraki Marine Gulf Park was established in 2000. The area is also Aotearoa’s most intensively recreationally fished area. Key fish stocks have declined by over 50%.
Plastic pollution is a huge problem. Whales in the Hauraki Gulf are ingesting about 25,000 microplastics per mouthful – that is around 3 million per day. Most of that plastic is in their food, such as zooplankton. As well as being ingested, plastic can entangle, suffocate, and drown marine life.
Currently, only 0.3% of the Hauraki Gulf’s waters are sufficiently protected. There are plans to increase this to 6%, but we need to reach 30% needed before the Gulf can fully regenerate.
That is why WWF is calling on New Zealand to become Pro-Extinction. We are asking everyone to make three harmful human behaviours extinct.
We are asking everyone to:
- Make overfishing extinct.
- Make plastic pollution extinct.
- Make indifference extinct.
Doing this means: Fishing sustainability to help the Hauraki Gulf regenerate. Rejecting single-use plastics and picking up plastic rubbish. Becoming a conscious consumer.
And most importantly, rejecting indifference. This means thinking actively about your decisions and the impact they will have on the environment. It also means urging leaders and businesses to protect our oceans and supporting those who do.
It means making positive choices for our planet, our ocean, and the Bryde’s whale.
Adopting these changes is easy. WWF has created an online information hub showing the impact of these three behaviours, and how they can be made extinct. Find out what you can do here.