Sunday, March 31, 2024

David Farrar: Dolphins vs SailGP

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon believes the cancellation of SailGP  racing in Lyttleton following dolphin sightings speaks to New Zealand's “obstruction economy” and its level of “red tape”.

However, he acknowledged SailGP organisers agreed to protocols concerning environmental protection and said a balance needed to be struck between running “world-class events” and protecting the environment.

Addressing the event being unable to go ahead on Saturday, DOC deputy director of general operations Henry Weston noted that in New Zealand, the Marine Mammals Protection Act and Marine Mammals Protection Regulations direct how vessels must behave around marine mammals and says it is illegal to harass or disturb them.

“All vessels and people involved in the SailGP event, including any support boats or spectators, must abide by this legislation. It is a legal requirement. People controlling vessels who encounter a dolphin or other marine mammal must travel no faster than idle/no wake speed if within 300 metres of a dolphin, and not herd, harass or obstruct marine mammals or cut through groups,” Weston said.

This wasn't about boats trying to hit dolphins or even being within a few metres of them. The rules mean you can't race if one dolphin is within 300 metres!

Sure SailGP agreed to the rules, but it would be nice to weigh up benefits vs risks.

There is a tiny risk that one out of 15,000 dolphins may feel slightly distressed as yachts race a few hundred metres away, and it may feel pressured to swim somewhere else.

Weigh that up against the thousands of people who had paid tickets to watch the race, and the preparation of all the teams.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


Mohua said...

Dolphins ride bow waves do they not

Tom Logan said...

I have lived in Auckland and been a boatie all my life. Most times out on the Gulf you see dolphins .

I note that the hi speed ferry goes out to Waiheke and back at least 5 times a day. That's 3650 voyages a year, or 73 ,000 voyages over 20 years.

And their are also hi speed ferries to Half Moon Bay, Gulf Harbour and the upper Harbour And oh yes there is also the hi speed pilot launch .Lets say this lot over 20 years makes 292,000 voyages.

Between them that's a total of 365,000 voyages over 20 years.

But I've forgotten to count the Devonport ferry, the Bayswater , Northcote and Birkenhead ferries.

Let's just call it a round half million hi speed ferry/ pilot launch trips per 20 years on Auckland Harbour

And none of them have ever hit a dolphin !

But there is certainly that many hi speed trips again over a 20 year trip by privately owned vessels.

That's a million hi speed vessel trips or more on the Auckland Harbour and inner Gulf over a 20 year period. And no one has ever hit a dolphin !

An amazing spectacle by which to showcase New Zealand's beauty and hi tech capability to the world is nearly wrecked.

The same weekend Melbourne hosted 450,000 people to the Melbourne Grand Prix. And 20 years ago Aussie took the Rugby World Cup hosting rights of us.

There's a pattern here. And furthermore it is clear that Labour , Green and Maori Party Supporters can neither count, nor think or reason.

Robert Arthur said...

The ferries are noisy and not very fast; maybe 50kph, not 80 kph.Do not have slicer keels

ihcpcoro said...

As per usual, where is the evidence that dolphins are threatened by these yachts? Why aren't cargo vessels banned from the harbour when dolphins are sighted? My experience over many years is that dolphins are very smart and very agile and they probably don't need any assistance from lower forms of animal life with alternative agendas.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish Robert, a million to zero.

Allan said...

The dolphins came to watch the racing and test their speed against the yachts.
Someone prove me wrong.

Tom Logan said...

All of these boats have propellors , some have two, some up to a meter in diameter, turning at up to 5000 RPM.

If each of these trips is 10km, thats 10 million kilometers of hi speed vessel trips over 20 years.

Any one seen a dead dolphin ?

Richard Compton said...

As a former (retired) diver I have enjoyed the company of dolphins who seem to have enjoyed mine at times. They are an impressive aquatic mammal and I too, wondered about earlier comments of (joy) riding bow waves. As for the "slicing keels" I wondered about their ability to discern such equipment. Since they have the well established facility of using a form of sonar to detect vessels or objects and home in on them to have their fun bow wave riding, I wondered about their ability to "see" relatively small foils on the GP sail boats. The following is simply a Google search , but I am happy to accept its veracity "Eyesight. Dolphins have acute vision both in and out of the water. A dolphin's eye is particularly adapted for seeing under water. Bottlenose dolphins have a double slit pupil allowing for similar visual acuity in air and water." Once again it seems to me the dolphins are as smart as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy suggested. As a diver, a double slit pupil would have permitted dispensing with that pesky mask to see underwater.

Anonymous said...

All i saw was iwi riding tbe bow waves!

Anonymous said...

Clearly the smartest place to hold the SailGP is on Lake Taupo.
No dolphins, and I expect that the previously unseen taniwha can be placated with just a few millions of taxpayers dollars ?