Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Disease is killing 600 sea lion pups at AK Islands

Disease is killing 600 sea lion pups at the Auckland Islands each year.

The disease Klebsiella pneumoniae is killing Auckland Island sea lions in unsustainable numbers.

The Deepwater Group, which represents the squid fishing fleet off the Auckland Islands, has written to Conservation Minister Nick Smith on the eve of his departure for the Southern Ocean on HMNZS Wellington today.

It has requested the government intervene to save the endangered New Zealand sea lion population which uses the Auckland Islands as its main breeding ground.

Deepwater CEO, George Clement says that in the 1990s, around 34 per cent of sea lions survived to breeding age. 

“A bacterial disease, Klebsiella pneumoniae, somehow got into this population around 13 years ago.  It is killing a third or more of the pups before they reach the age of two – leaving fewer than 15 per cent to survive to breeding age,” George Clement says. 

“This means that in the early 1990s around 900 pups survived to breeding age each year and now only around 200 pups are surviving to breed.  As a result, this population is in decline.”

“As alarming as these numbers are, the real situation could yet prove to be worse because we have already lost many of the sea lions which would now be breeding.  Unless we roll up our sleeves and do something to halt the effects of this epidemic on the pups, this population is likely to decline further before it can increase.”

George Clement says the seafood industry has told Nick Smith that it is offering to work with government and with experts in veterinary science, animal husbandry and in treating animal diseases, to find practical solutions to save the sea lions.

“Interventions are urgently needed that will prevent this disease from reducing the population further.  Klebsiella infections in humans can be treated with antibiotics, so a way has to be found to prevent the young sea lions dying before they leave for sea.”

“In the past, the seafood industry has been blamed as the main threat to sea lions.  But when 600 pups die each year from disease and 15 adults are killed by fishing, it is evident this population will continue to decline, even if there are no further deaths from fishing.”

“As an industry we’ve invested a huge amount over the past ten years to reduce incidental sea lion bycatch in our catch management, in particular refining the Sea Lion Escape Devices (SLEDs) which have drastically reduced the risk to the sea lions from fishing,” George Clement says.

“But this disease is a much bigger threat than fishing ever was.  We want to work together with government and experts in various disease disciplines, both from New Zealand and overseas, and any NGOs as well, to save the unique New Zealand sea lions from extinction”.


Click for big version.


Click for big version.

Notes:

1. In the above figures ‘Pups’ are -0-2 years, ‘Juveniles’ are 2-5 years and ‘Adults’ are 5+ years.
2. Only 34% and 14% of the pups become adults (i.e. ‘Survive to Breed’).
3. Of these adults, some die from fishing. The 5% and 1% estimates of sea lions that ‘Die from Fishing’ are expressed as proportions of the numbers of pups born, not as proportions of the numbers of adults (hence the numbers in the in the figures exceed 100%).

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news