Up until the mid-late 2000s, the QantasLink Dash 8 operations to Lord Howe Island had some seats removed, and in their place a large (9-person?) liferaft was placed on a pallet, for use in the event of a ditching on this long overwater sector. A few years ago, I noticed this liferaft is no longer carried. Was there some change in regulations or certification that means that its carriage is no longer required? I can't imagine it would have been carried if it were at all avoidable in the past - removal of even a few seats represents a fairly large proportion of the capacity on a 37-seat aircraft!
In addition, I have noticed that on flights to/from LDH, the underwing exit row seats are never populated. Is this to ensure the path to the exit is clear in a ditching?
The liferaft is referenced in this old safety card: