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New Zealand plans to restrict fishing to try and save world's rarest and smallest dolphin

New Zealand plans to restrict fishing in some areas to try and save the world's smallest and rarest dolphin from extinction.

Experts estimate there are only 55 Maui's dolphins remaining. Unique to the South Pacific nation, the dolphins have short snouts and rounded fins. They are colored gray, black and white, and grow no longer than 1.7 meters (5.6 feet).

Conservation Minister Nick Smith on Friday proposed extending areas around the Taranaki region where commercial fishing nets are banned. He will likely make a final decision next month.

The nets are typically made of nylon and left overnight by fishermen. About five of the dolphins have become ensnared and died in the nets since 2000.

The proposed changes will likely leave a handful of Taranaki fishermen out of work.