Sailor Phil Robertson captures baby dolphin rescue, urges Kiwis to take better care of ocean

Kiwi sailor Phil Robertson has urged boaties to think twice after a heartbreaking encounter with a baby dolphin caught in fishing line.

Robertson was foil boarding off Kawau Island with underwater photographer, Steve Hathaway, at the weekend, when they spotted a young common dolphin on its own.

Upon further inspection, they were alarmed to find it caught up in discarded fishing line.

“We went a bit closer and could see it was tangled in some fishing line and really struggling so [Steve] sort of made a plan that he needed to jump in and grab the dolphin so we could cut all the line free and give it its best chance to live,” Robertson told the Herald after filming the rescue.

“The sad thing is it probably won’t survive but at least we gave it the best chance it could. It lost its pod, so hopefully it has found some friends out there and is living a happy life and recovering.”

Robertson said it was a situation all too familiar for Hathaway – who founded the Young Ocean Explorers charity in 2012.

His mission was to inspire and educate children to love the ocean and create generational change by signifying the importance of caring for it and it’s sea life.

“Steve sees this all the time out there which is quite sad,” Robertson said. “It ranges from dolphins all the way up to whales getting caught in the tackle.

“It’s not rare but the biggest thing is we need to look after our oceans and make sure we’re not ditching anything that could harm our sea life.

“We’ve got such beautiful ocean and the Hauraki Gulf is something so special and unique to New Zealand and we’ve got to look after it and love it and the ecosystem that’s keeping or land alive as well down there. The fish are slowly depleting which is sad but we’ve just got to be responsible when it comes to being on the water, fishing and any water activities.”

Robertson is a two-time match race World Championship winner and skipper of the China SailGP team.

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