Hector’s Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori, is listed as Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. It is endemic to the waters off New Zealand, and has one of the most restricted distributions of any whale, dolphin, or porpoise.
The most serious threats to this species are due to human activities, such as individuals becoming entangled in gillnets. Amateur gillnetting has been identified as a significant cause of mortality in this species, and it has been reported that around 60 percent of all Hector’s Dolphin deaths were the result of gillnet entanglement. Additional threats include pollution, disease, collisions with boats and habitat modification.
Hector’s Dolphin is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that trade in this species should be strictly monitored and controlled. The New Zealand Government has created two protected areas to promote the conservation of this species, and in 2008 discussions were undertaken to develop a more comprehensive management plan. It has been recommended that reduced gillnet fishing effort and changes in fishing practices are necessary to ensure the long-term survival of Hector’s Dolphin.