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The Real Value of Hector’s

Putting the $ in Hector’$

Can you really put a dollar value on a species like Hector’s dolphins? Or should you?

Hector’s dolphin

Surely the conservation and sustainability of our only native dolphin is enough to drive the correct decisions by our government.

It turns out it’s a little more complex than that; the fishing industry has a powerful and well resourced voice that is very good at making itself heard. And they’ve come up with some very real arguments that are delaying further protection of Hector’s dolphins.

So at Black Cat Cruises, we decided to step it up see if we could provide some more information to balance the economic argument of fishing with the economic benefit derived through tourism activities. We did this for the hub of Hector’s activity which is Akaroa/Banks Peninsula because  it’s our home patch and an area we know best, but the results apply nationally.

What’s been done in the past?

There has been one attempt at putting a value on the species in 2014. An international NGO (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) commissioned a study of the preferences of New Zealanders via a survey. This was based on what is known as a ‘non-value’ use. Forgetting economic impact what would Kiwis be prepared to pay to keep the species around. How much do we care in $ terms?

This study determined values of between $355,000 and $440,000 per dolphin. This means that the estimated 130 dolphins killed every year in fishing nets represents an estimated $46 million NZD annual ‘welfare’ loss to the people of New Zealand.

Hector’s dolphins

There have been other studies globally which try and put a value on a single animal. For example in 2011, R. C. Anderson assessed the extent and economic value of manta ray watching in the Maldives. The study showed a manta ray might generate around US$100,000 in tourism dollars through a lifetime while only worth US$500 if caught and sold.

And elsewhere in NZ there have been numerous studies. Otago Peninsula has two rare marine species, the Royal Albatross and the Yellow-Eyed penguin, which attract tourists from around the world. Tisdell (2007) applied an Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) to establish the contribution of these two species to Dunedin’s regional economy.  The study found that the annual turnover of the tourism operators directly offering eco-tours was estimated to be of the order of $6.5 M and 70 full-time persons were employed in the industry. It was estimated that as a result of the eco-tourism associated with these species, approximately $100 million in GDP was generated in the Dunedin regional economy (directly or indirectly) and that 800-1000 full-time equivalent jobs were sustained.

What about Hector’s?

We appointed Market Economics to assess the economic impact of Hector’s dolphins at Banks Peninsula. You can download the 28 page report here. Importantly, we decided to measure the direct and indirect dollar impact from Hector’s dolphins tourism from international visitors only – rather than pushing it out further. This is quite a conservative approach, but accurate and dependable.

Akaroa Harbour

The report found Hector’s dolphin tourism is an important part of the Banks Peninsula economy and the wider Christchurch region.  The relatively high incidence of Hector’s means that eco-tours offer an almost guaranteed sighting on every trip. This high success is important in drawing many tourists to Akaroa, Christchurch, and to New Zealand.

In today’s terms, Hector’s eco-tourism, and the wider economic impact is estimated to range between $22M and $25M in value added which sustains the equivalent of between 473 to 530 jobs in the Canterbury economy.  The national value of Hector’s eco-tourism is estimated at between $28M and $31M in value added which sustains the equivalent of between 541 to 607 jobs in the national economy.

Black Cat Cruises at Akaroa Main Wharf

In addition, looking at regional disbursement which is very important to NZ and to Christchurch.

64% of people rated dolphins as either very important or important in their decision to visit Christchurch in the first place. This means that the dolphins were a key decision influencer on whether to come to Canterbury at all for around 48,000 people in 2018.

In addition 45% of people rated dolphins as either very important or important in their decision to visit NZ. Clearly the viewing of native wildlife in their natural habitat is important to our international visitors and specifically seeing dolphins was a key influencer in whether to come to NZ at all for around half of our visitors. At an average spend of $3,300 per person who visits NZ, the dolphins influenced around $111M in national spend. ($3300 x 75,000 people x 45%).

Taking this into account, and our marketing position of 100% Pure, it’s also fair to assume our potential visitors expect us to be actively protecting our native dolphins. How much damage is done to our brand with headlines like this? ‘Five Hector’s dolphins killed by commercial set net’ from an article in March 2018. Or this one ‘Three Hector’s dolphins killed in net off Canterbury coast’ from February 2019.

Not all about the numbers

Clearly the protection of a species like Hector’s dolphin is more important than dollars but it’s important to assess these numbers when looking at the economic impact on fisheries. The tourism industry has grown substantially in the 10 years since the Hector’s threat management plan was last assessed (and yes that also comes with its challenges).

We’re calling on the Ministers of Fisheries and Conservation to take the tourism economic impact of Hector’s into account when assessing further protection for our dolphins. If the above numbers balance off against those from fishing, then the argument becomes solely about conservation – and that’s an easy one to win!

How you can help!

The Hector’s and Māui dolphins Threat Management Plan is coming up for review and we have a small window of time to help. We are calling on our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to put much needed better protection in place for these endemic and endangered dolphins. We want to see protection for them out to 100 metres in depth to protect their habitat and the species from extinction.

Mother’s Day Lyttelton Harbour Nature Cruise

Celebrate the special lady in your life this Mother’s Day!

Canterbury Cat
Cruise Lyttelton Harbour this Mother’s Day

Enjoy a 1.5-hour scenic cruise on Lyttelton Harbour aboard our spacious catamaran “Canterbury Cat” and make this Mother’s Day one to remember.

Take in the stunning local scenery as you sip on a delicious She Universe hot chocolate and you might even spot a Hector’s dolphin!

DATE & TIME

Choose from two departures available on Sunday May 12. The boat departs at 11:00am returning at 12:30pm.

PRICE

$39 for an adult pass
$19 for a child pass (5 -15 years)
FREE kids under 5 years

TO BOOK

https://blackcatcruises.ibisnz.com/Departures or call +64 3 328 9078

Departs from B-Jetty in Lyttelton.

2019 Quail Island Easter Egg Hunt

Quail Island Easter Egg Hunt

Our annual Easter Egg Hunt hosted on beautiful Quail Island is back once again!

Take the family or gather up some friends this Easter for a fun-filled day on Quail Island. Search the island for coloured tokens and exchange for scrumptious Easter eggs*.  On your journey discover along the way old shipwrecks, cheeky native birds, volcanic cliffs and hidden caves!

The Easter Bunny is getting prepared to leave thousands (yes thousands!) of delicious chocolate eggs with us.

Tickets are limited! Making this the hottest and tastiest Easter activity in town!

Quail Island Easter Egg Hunt

When is it?

The Quail Island Easter Egg Hunt will happen from Friday 19 April through to Monday 22 April 2019.

What time?

There are 3 times you can head out to Quail Island on the Easter Egg Hunt:

10:30am – 1:00pm
11:30am – 2:00pm
12:30pm – 3:00pm

Please note you must depart and return at the times stated on your ticket.

Who can go?

Our Quail Island Easter Egg Hunt is designed for absolutely any age! Quail Island is a wonderful place for families and friends of all ages.

How much is it?

Children under 5 years: Free
Children 5-15 years: $15.00
Adults: $30.00

How can I book?

Firstly, you must book your tickets with us. This can be done by calling 0800 436 574 or jumping online at www.blackcat.co.nz.   We highly recommend booking in advance because we sell out on every day, every year

How does it work?

Come down to B Jetty in Lyttelton at least 15 minutes before your departure time. Our skipper will be there to welcome you on board the Canterbury Cat as you then cruise across Lyttelton Harbour to disembark at the wharf on Quail Island. Our Black Cat Cruises crew (along with the Easter Bunny of course) will have hidden coloured tokens around the island. Every guest on our Easter Egg Hunt is encouraged to collect a maximum of three coloured tokens which we then swap for your chocolate eggs on your ferry ride back.

Don’t forget!

Find the golden egg to win a GIANT CHOCOLATE BUNNY. There will be one golden egg hidden every day over the long weekend.

The Quail Island Ferry now operates all year round.

Exploring Quail Island
Exploring Quail Island

Akaroa Valentine – The perfect Valentines Day date….

akaroa vineyard

Wondering what to do for Valentines day? With Valentines Day being this Thursday we got to thinking what could be a truly romantic date in Akaroa that was sure to impress….

Read on below and check out all of the links to some of Akaroa’s best spots!

PRESENTS

Firstly let’s talk presents! 🙂 Why not surprise your other half with a dolphin swim or cruise? A sure fire way to do something unique and rather special. Take in the sights of as you cruise along an extinct volcanic crater and get up close to one of the world’s most endangered and rarest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin. After all it’s about making amazing memories right?

akaroa swimming with dolphins
Image from Black Cat Cruises

FOOD AND VIEWS

For lunch how about a picnic hike to a spot with views over the harbour?
Take a picnic basket packed with some lovely wine from the Takamatua Valley Vineyard and some lovely fresh Akaroa salmon from the butchers. Work up an appetite hiking up one of the many Banks Peninsula hills and then sit back and soak it all up as you feast on your delights!

akaroa romantic escape
Image courtesy of Christchurchnz.com

A TIPPLE

After lunch what about enjoying a wine tasting experience at Meniscus?
We can recommend heading up to Meniscus Wines to taste some of their beautiful local wines that they have in store for you. Offering Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines including various vintages it’s the perfect place to share a bottle….again with some stunning views, just check out the pictures below!

akaroa vineyard and wine tasting
Photo credit meniscuswines.co.nz
akaroa vineyward and wine tasting

GOURMET EVENING

For dinner consider booking a table at the renowned and intimate Little Bistro – be warned that with limited seating bookings should be made in advance. It’s a very popular spot, and for a very good reason!

akaroa restaurant

Or….

Another wonderful restaurant to consider is the laid-back Rona’s. Since it’s opening just last year it’s been receiving rave reviews described as a real foodies paradise. Seasonal ingredients are locally sourced and dishes are paired with local wines.

akaroa restaurant

GET ACTIVE

If you’re still up for adventure before you both hit the hay a really cool experience now available in Akaroa is to night sup!

Yes paddle boarding on Akaroa Harbour at night….you can even share a board together.

Check out their website for more details.

akaroa paddle boarding

SLEEP

We have two accomodation suggestions, both a little quirky and different….

To end the day off, spend the night at Tree Crop Farm in one of their Lovers Retreats.

As self described on their website – which is worth checking out…”The Romantic Retreats at Tree Crop Farm in Akaroa on the Grehan Valley stream, have a 20 year reputation for their picturesque arcadian setting and the wood fires, candles, flowers, late sleep-ins, hot baths outside under the stars and the dawn chorus from who knows how many thousands of birds at day break ” It’s a shoe in for a romantic night away! Just check out the pics and we’re sure you’ll be hooked….

Akaroa accomdation at tree crop farm

Or….

One of the latest additions to the peninsula are the beautiful Te Wepu pods. Situated on the western side of Akaroa Harbour the extensive property affords panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour, Onawe Peninsula and French Farm Valley. Enjoy a hike on the farm of simply sit in the hot tub and relax with your loved one as the sun goes down. Sounds pretty perfect to us!

akaroa accomodation at te wepu

Banks Peninsula Beaches – Our pick of beautiful beaches in and around the Peninsula

With the weather hotting up for the next week ahead we thought we’d share with you our pick of beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches.

We think of Banks Peninsula as one of New Zealand’s natural treasures. With it’s abundance of bays and beaches we are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a place to swim, relax and have some summer fun.

On the doorstep of Christchurch yet remote enough to feel you’re a million miles away here’s our pick of some the best Banks Peninsula beaches to visit this summer….

 

Taylors Mistake Beach

Taylors Mistake is one of the coolest little beaches in Christchurch that arguably sits at the start of the peninsula. The story is told that it is named after Captain Taylor who ran his boat and crew aground during the night when he its believed he was passing over the Sumner bar.  Others argue that he thought he had found Lyttelton harbour and was most surprised when the boat became beached. Bizarrely just six years later another Captain Taylor also ran aground in the same bay. Originally it was called Vincent Bay

The beach is very popular with surfers as it usually gets a more powerful waved than neighboring Sumner and so it’s great beach to come to for a swim, surf, body board or to simply catch up with friends and get a nice tan.

Taylors Mistake has a great set of volunteer lifeguards that patrol the beach in the summer months over the weekend.

The beach itself is cradled between the port hills so a beautiful setting for a day out

There are some fantastic mountain bike tracks in these hills and you may even spot para-gliders floating down from above.

You can also do a couple of fantastic coastal cliff walks either the Godley Head track on the right-hand side (as pictured)  and the Taylors Mistake Track on the left-hand side where you can walk back to Sumner. Just remember to take a bottle of water and slap some sunscreen on!

 

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Sumner Beach

Sumner Beach is another lovely beach in Christchurch….bordering that of the peninsula and Taylors Mistake it’s definitely worth adding to the list! A top tip is to head out for sunrise or sunset, and watch from above Cave Rock! Amazing views, and you can skip the busy traffic on hot summer days.

It’s a lovely long open beach affording views of the Southern Alps and sometimes even the Kaikoura peaks hiding in the distance. As Sumner is a good sized open beach it’s great for a game of cricket or volleyball with friends or family.

There are some fab cafes and bars in Sumner which make it a great place to visit during the day or later on as the sun sets. It does get quite busy in the summer holidays when the suns out, but being only approximately 20 minutes from the city centre it’s an easy place to get to.

You can even take your dog to Sumner, however they are only allowed off the leash under effective control in a a certain area so please read the signs carefully.

Sumner is also being patrolled by volunteer lifeguards during the summer months over the weekend.

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Tumbledown Bay

Tumbledown Bay is a small little bay, 1 hour and 15-minutes out from Christchurch via Little River. It’s a steep drive down to the bay on a dirt road so a four wheel drive is recommend. The views however on the drive over are spectacular, possibly some of the best when discovering the Banks Peninsula beaches.

Tumbledown Bay is generally a quiet bay so a nice spot to relaxing and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the beautiful ocean and the nice walks around the bay. If you are lucky you might see some Hector’s Dolphins swim by. Tumbledown Bay has small sets waves so it’s good if you want to learn to surf or just a nice swim.

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Akaroa Beach

Akaroa Beach is a nice small tidal beach that is in the centre of the Akaroa township.

Akaroa is a just 90-minute scenic drive from Christchurch. With many things to do in Akaroa it’s nice to end the day with a nice swim and a jump of the pontoon. Bring a bucket and spade for the kids and simply take a good book and relax.

You might even be in luck and see some friendly little Hector’s Dolphins come say, “hello”.

Check out our recent blog about Ten Free Things To Do In Akaroa for some further inspiration.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Hickory Bay

Hickory Bay is a fantastic place to go surfing. Being one of the larger Banks Peninsula beaches a 4WD is recommended for the drive down into the bay where you can park your car at the bottom and then take a foot track to the beach itself.

A nice wide beach with waves ranging between 1 – 12 metres in height, it is the perfect spot.

Or if you are feeling adventurous you can hike over to the bay from Akaroa and then hike back again.

Hickory bay is approximately 1 hour and 46-minute drive from Christchurch.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

Corsair Bay

Corsair Bay is a small little sandy / pebbly bay just passed Lyttelton.

With its close proximity to the city, in the summer the bay can often be packed with kids and adults alike.

The kids have got places to jump off from into the water, including the pontoon that sits in the middle of the bay or you can go for nice short walks around either side of the bay.

Pack a picnic, paddle board or grab some fish and chips from Lyttelton on the way and enjoy just one of the little gems the peninsula offers.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Le Bons Bay

Le Bons Bay is a bay approximately 1 hour and 38-minutes’ drive from Christchurch.

It’s a truly lovely bay on Banks Peninsula with lots of other bays surrounding it so you could visit a few in a day whilst you drive along the scenic summit road.

Le Bons Bay is a bay where you can play in the river that is connected to it and where you can bring your swim stuff to and go for a nice cool swim.

 

Okains Bay

Okains Bay is probably best known by the locals as a great camping spot. It also has a wonderful safe beach ideal for all sorts of family activities.

It’s well known for the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum which contains over 3,000 Maori items.

There is also a general store which dates back to 1873 and is still in operation today. Be sure to grab an ice-cream before you head to the beach!

It’s only approx a one and a quarter hours drive from Christchurch and 22km from Akaroa.

Check out the Okains Bay campsite website for more details https://okainsbaycamp.co.nz/

 

Cass Bay

Cass Bay is another little bay just around the corner from Lyttelton, so pretty easy to access from Christchurch.

Residents of Cass Bay have the spectacular views out over Lyttelton Harbour and towards Quail Island.

Cass bay is another lovely bay to visit in the summer with the kids or with your family or friends.

Bring the kids down to the water or the playground or take them for a nice walk around the bays.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Magnet Bay

Last on our list of beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches is Magnet Bay. Another surfer’s paradise where you can catch some great waves. A boulder beach so be prepared….the scenery is worth the trip though

Just under an hour and a half’s drive from Christchurch it’s a great spot to check out.

A neighbour to Tumbledown Bay you will pass through Little River along the way.

Not recommended for complete beginner surfers as you have to walk out over the boulders to reach the water and the surf can get quite big.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

We hope we’ve inspired you to visit one of these beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches…share your snaps with us if you do by tagging @blackcatcruises We’d love to see your adventures in our local back yard!

Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Quail Island

plunket picnic quail island

plunket picnic quail island

Quail Island Fun

Bring your very best teds and join us at the inaugural Plunket Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Quail Island!

We are proud to support Plunket and the amazing work and services they provide for mum’s, babies and families in New Zealand.

When?

quail island ferryBlack Cat Cruises have donated a special charter departing from Lyttelton Harbour to Quail Island on the 9th of February (rain day 10 February) at 11:15am and returning 2:30pm.

All proceeds from this event go back to Plunket to support the free services they provide to the Christchurch community such as Parenting Education, Coffee Groups, Playgroups and Music and Movement Groups.

What’s Included?

These discounted ticket prices includes return boat ride and sausage, and a goody bag for each child (0 – 12 years).

Adults are normally $30 each and children $15 each.

Prices

Family Pass (2 adults, 2 children) $75 + eventbrite fees
Adult and Child Pass (1 Adult and 1 child) $40 + eventbrite fees
Adult Pass (1 Adult) $25 + eventbrite fees
Child Pass (1 Child) $12.50 + eventbrite fees

The fine print: For safety reasons, there must be at least one adult available for every 3 children. There are only 80 seats on the charter. Under 2’s will be counted as 1 Child for the purposes of this trip.

Purchase Tickets Here

https://www.facebook.com/events

 

Quail Island Information

Quail Island in one of the best Christchurch day trips out there. Just a short 10 / 15 minute ferry ride from Lyttelton wharf, Quail Island is a wonderful destination for a family day out. There’s a walking track, old shipwrecks, and a lovely swimming beach close to the jetty so pack some drinks and snacks and of course your swimming costumes for a great family day out.

For more information about Quail Island and Black Cat Cruises please visit: https://blackcat.co.nz/quail-island-adventures

We hope to see you over there!

Akaroa – 10 Free Things To Do!

akaroa beach

That’s right, a whole list of free awesome things to do in Akaroa!

akaroa waterfall
Newton’s waterfall in Akaroa
This summer there’s a whole heap of fun to be had on the peninsula. From family fun, scenic escapes or a road trip with your mates, Akaroa can cater to you all. Of course when you visit we recommend an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise or a Swimming With Dolphins experience, but hey, Akaroa is full of fantastic gems and we want to share some of these with you.
So if you’re planning a trip to Akaroa soon and want some recommendations than read our pick of 10 free things to do in Akaroa while you’re there….

1. Newton’s Waterfall

Did you know that there is a waterfall in Akaroa? Enjoy walking, but short on time? Well this is the perfect de-tour for you. Try the Newton’s Waterfall walk, departing from Aylmer’s Valley Road. It’s a pretty easy 10-minute walk to the waterfall which flows all year round.
If you want to park the car near the waterfall what is at the end of Aylmers Valley Road, you have the option to (Please be aware that there is a limited of parking space).

akaroa lighthouse

2. The Akaroa Lighthouse

Did you know that the Lighthouse has been in Akaroa for over 40 years? It is now run by dedicated volunteers.  The best time to visit is on Sundays from 11am-2pm or on cruise ship days.
Have a look at this historic building, all it takes is a 10 – minute walk from Akaroa town along the water and through the beautiful nature. And make sure to take a picture in or around the lighthouse to remember the beautiful historic building.

3. The Ōnuku Marae. onuku marae

Picture perfect The Ōnuku Marae has been around for centuries and has been involved in some significant and historic events including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Want to see the real culture of New Zealand ? Then take a visit to the Ōnuku Marae.
The Ōnuku Marae is located 5.2km away from the township and is a 9-10-minute walk along the coast and through the trees.
 For more information visit www.onuku.nz

4. The Rhino Walk, Akaroa

Yes we have Rhino and more in Akaroa….well it is wildlife albeit metal. This relaxing walk from the township to Childrens Bay will treat you to some fantastic wildlife sculptures along the way. Set against the backdrop of Akaroa harbour it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. With a very short walk you can walk from the Akaroa town to the grass hill.
Go and explore the beautiful sculptures made from recycled metal that have been turned into something magical!

5. Jump into Summer! 

Want to go and have some water fun with your friends on a nice warm day? Come down to the beach and spend an afternoon jumping from the pontoon. You might even play a game of who can stay on the longest, or who can make the biggest splash! Remember to be safe when in and around the water…and slip, slop, slap that suncreen on!

6. Akaroa Skate Park

Good on wheels? Then take so time for the kids and adults to let off some energy down on the skate ramp.
Whether it’s with your BMX, your scooter, or skate board come down and enjoy the fun all year round.
Located at the very beginning on the right just before you hit the shops.
For a list of Skate parks in the region visit the councils web page here www.ccc.govt.nz/rec-and-sport/activities/skateparks/

7. Akaroa Beach

akaroa beachAfter all that exploring how about some time to lie down and relax. Kick back, work on that tan and just chill in the shade.
Whatever you fancy, simply grab your beach gear and come down.
If you’re feeling active you could play some beach or water games, bring down your kayak or paddle board and go explore the scenery or pack a good book and simply lay still and soak up some summer.
Listed as one of the best beaches in and around Christchurch! christchurchnz.com

8. Akaroa Museum

An absolute Akaroa treasure. If you want to find out more about the fascinating historical French township of Akaroa and the history of Banks Peninsula. Its varied collections include archives, art, photography, costume and textiles, taonga, and technology.You can also learn about what buildings are heritage buildings, and they provide a research service.
With it being open from 10:30am – 4:00pm during the winter and 10:30am – 4:30pm in the summer months you can come and visit 363 days a year for free.
Visit their website akaroamuseum.org.nz

9. Akaroa Playground

Akaroa is a great place to visit with children and the playground is a great spot for them to have a good run around.
Situated just behind the war memorial with views over the water front it’s a beautiful spot to have some fun. We suggest grabbing yourself a coffee and the kids some ice creams from the Sweet As Bakery on your way! Yum!

10. Delicious Akaroa

Speaking of ice cream did you know there’s a couple of cool spots to try some complimentary food tastings.

Interested in a little free fudge tasting or a delicious piece of cheese?
Come down to Pot Pourri to try some cream and butter fudge. Pot Pourri is located just as you come into Akaroa on the right-hand side after the playing field. They hand make a variety of fresh delicious fudge daily and offer a complimentary tasting before you buy.
Check out their Facebook page here .facebook.com
Or if you are more interested in the cheesy side of things then you must stop off at the Barrys Bay cheese factory to try some traditional handcrafted cheese.
Local New Zealand cheese, made by local people…they’ve been handcrafting cheese’s for over 120 years.
 Find out more here /www.barrysbaycheese.co.nz
We hope we’ve tempted you for a visit! Here’s to a great Kiwi summer of fun!

Mena The Penguin Dog

penguin dog lyttleton

Penguins in Christchurch?

Yep, we have penguins in Christchurch peeps.

Whilst you are probably aware that we have an abundance of wildlife around Banks Peninsula…did you know White-Flippered Little Blue penguins inhabit Otamahua / Quail Island….

A sub-species of the Little Blue penguin, the White-Flippered Little Blues are only found around Canterbury. How special is that!

A Penguin Dog?

That’s right a penguin dog! Well that is what we have lovingly named her. And just what is a penguin dog, you ask?

Well let us explain…but first we’ll fill you in on why we came to meet her.

The White-Flippered Little Blue penguins are ‘acutely-threatened’ and as such Black Cat Cruises sponsored Mena The Penguin Dog to make a visit over to Quail Island to locate and record the penguins.

penguin dog lyttleton
Mena and her handler waiting to catch the ferry to Quail Island

Meet Mena…

Mena is a trained penguin detection dog! Mena was accompanied by her handler Alistair Judkins of the Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute.

They arrived in Lyttelton harbour and took the 10 minute boat ride over on the Quail Island ferry to start their detective work.

quail island
On the look out for penguins on Quail Island

She visited Quail Island for two days on the 23rd and the 24th of October.

Mena covered lots of ground in order to try and locate the penguins’ nests.

Once a nest was located Mena would also locate the route the penguins would take from the sea to their nests.

quail island penguin nest
Bingo! One of the penguin nests Mena located

Mena managed to locate 6 active nests and was able to find the routes that the penguins traveled from sea.

This now means that they can keep an eye out for the penguins and help to assist their progression.

penguin nest
Mena doing her job well!

Far From Where We Need To Be…

The finding of six nests was an improvement on 2017 with 2 more nests then last years result when only 4 were found.

Whilst its a small improvement we are still well below the peak of 41 nests just in 2007.

Do Not Disturb

It is imperative that if you visit Quail Island and notice or discover a penguin nest..or even a penguin itself that you respect their space and do not come into contact with them or their home.

Enjoy the natural interaction of simply seeing a rare species in it’s natural habitat. Remember our latest post of the #tiakipromise? Lets help to protect the environment we all live in.

little blue penguins
A pair of White-flippered little blue penguins

A Rare Species…

 IUCN (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and Birdlife International classified White-flippered penguin as “Endangered”, and D.O.C. (Department of Conservation, New Zealand) as “Acutely-Threatened”. There are only approximately 4,000 pairs with around 2,200 of those found around Banks Peninsula…the rest on Motunau Island.

We were so pleased to be able to sponsor Mena’s visit and we will continue to make efforts to protect our surroundings and it’s inhabitants.

Find Out More And Visit Quail Island

If you would like to learn more about the White-Flippered penguin click here

If you would like to find our more about Otamahua / Quail Island click here .

Did you know you can now book your ferry tickets online with us…and you can spend the night on the Island in Otamahua hut!

Quail Island Christchurch

TIAKI PROMISE

TIAKI PROMISE

TIAKI PROMISE Have you heard of the Tiaki promise?

Well the Tiaki promise is a shared kaupapa (set of values, principles and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions) founded by New Zealand’s leading Tourism bodies and experts.

The Tiaki Promise is a commitment that both New Zealanders and visitors alike should follow. Most importantly this is in order to protect the country for our generation, and for the generations that are yet to come. What a beautiful concept we can all help bring to life…..

Tiaki In Action

The Tiaki Promise indicates how we can care for New Zealand, with five clear pillars for guidance as shown in this poster. tiaki promise poster

Such simple changes and small deeds can have a big impact. Therefore this might be as simple as…

  • Driving carefully on the roads
  • Being prepared for bad weather or a disaster
  • Showing respect to your peers and people you meet along the way
  • Protecting nature and your environment
  • Picking up litter

That great old saying of take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints is a great way to describe an example of that!

Count Us In

We at Black Cat Cruises have proudly made the commitment to be a part of the Tiaki Promise. As a Kiwi eco-tourism operator since day one we will continue to search for ways in which we can better our environment and experience whilst respecting our surroundings and the wildlife within it.

Get Involved…

The coolest part is that the Tiaki promise is a call out for all Kiwi’s to become guardians of their home. By following this link https://tiakinewzealand.com/ you can find out a little more and show your support towards the Tiaki Promise and YOU can help by becoming a guardian of New Zealand starting today.

Feeling Inspired?

We’d love to hear what actions you already take and now plan to take to show your support. Leave a comment below and inspire us….

 

THE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR DOLPHIN

New Zealand’s own dolphin

By any measure Hector’s dolphins are a very special animal. Not only are they the smallest dolphin in the world, they are also the only one native to New Zealand. They’re as kiwi as the kiwi. If that is not enough, just like New Zealanders, they are very friendly, often investigating boats and people in the water.

So beloved are the dolphins, that an industry has sprung up to take people out to see or swim with them. Much of the Hector’s activity is based in the beautiful sheltered harbour of Akaroa. Black Cat Cruises was the first operator in 1985 and with other operators its estimated around 1 million people have seen Hector’s dolphins in the last 33 years. It’s an unrivalled and incredible setting to appreciate these very special dolphins and without exception people who see these dolphins form a connection.

It’s estimated the Akaroa Hector’s dolphin industry generates $24.5M* a year in direct and indirect revenue with $19.5M of that for Canterbury alone. This equates to 476 jobs (419 in Canterbury) The dolphins are the must do attraction in Akaroa and bring vital tourism dollars to the region. Nearly $100M in the last 4 years. Plus when asked how important was a dolphin tour to the decision to visit New Zealand, over 45% stated it was either important or very important; indicating the nature experience is a key factor in choosing to come to New Zealand.

But there’s a problem.

Set Net drownings

Hector’s are also one of the world’s rarest dolphin species. It’s estimated there are somewhere between 8000 to 15000 Hectors left – fewer than 30% of their original population. And their close cousin, the North Island Maui dolphin has just 55 individuals. The situation is so dire that in 2017 the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) named the two species in their threatened and endangered species list. You know it’s bad when the Americans are calling us out…

So what’s happening? The greatest threat to the Hector’s dolphins is getting caught and drowned in set nets. As their name suggests, fishers drop the net to the ocean floor and come back later to pull it up. Unfortunately the net is very difficult for a dolphin to detect and they drown if caught.

It’s not that New Zealand has done nothing. In 1988 the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal sanctuary was put in place which introduced some fishing restrictions especially around set netting in the area. At first glance this sounds like a great move but if you look at the details it provided only a modicum of protection and was far from the ‘sanctuary’ it pretended to be. In 2008 more protection was added by extending the boundaries.

However today there is the crazy situation where nets can still be set in and around Banks Peninsula in areas where the dolphins are known to range. Commercial set netting occurs from 4 miles out to sea and flounder nets can be set in Akaroa Harbour from April to October.

In recent years this led to the very sad (and totally unacceptable) situation in March 2018 where

5 dolphins were killed in one set net off the Canterbury coast. And in Akaroa Harbour where a dolphin drowned in 2015. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Compounding the problem is that these dolphins only breed once every 2-3 years. So any death in the population is very hard to replace. Its thought the dolphin population is slowly reducing by 1% per year.

Solution – no more set nets

Right now the NZ government is formulating a plan for discussion. The ‘Threat Management Plan’ is due for release in 2019 and will take a scientific look at the current rate of kill and what, if anything, should be done about it.

To us it’s very clear that set netting no longer has a place for NZ fishing. We need better protection for Hectors around the South Island from all set netting – in the areas they range. Studies have shown whilst they are an ‘in-shore’ dolphin, they also range out to sea as much as 25 miles; though the range is more dependent on the depth of the water. Hector’s don’t tend to fish in water deeper than 100M.

We’re seeking to ensure the Banks Peninsula Sanctuary is a safe place for dolphins. We want to see an all year ban of set netting in the harbours, plus an extension of the commercial ban out to 100m depth (around 20 miles). In addition an extension of the sanctuary up and down the South Island. Only this will bring true haven status to the waters of Banks Peninsula.

Not only is that our responsibility as Kaitiakitanga or good guardians, but also it makes good economic sense. The dolphin industry supports an entire sector – literally hundreds of jobs (directly and indirectly) in Canterbury alone and millions of dollars. Commercial set netting accounts for just a handful around Banks Peninsula.

The benefits are clear – protection of one of our most special natives, protection of an entire industry and jobs and economic benefit for NZ.

This  is an urgent problem with a simple solution.

Come on New Zealand, we can do better than this.

 

* GDP – value added spend on day of travel. M.E Consulting ‘Hector’s dolphin eco-tourism economic impact assessment. November 2018.