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

Gordon Campbell: On The
America’s Cup

The fact New Zealand now reigns supreme once again in the most sophisticated contest in the world’s most elite sport – yacht racing – can’t help but reflect the trajectory the country has been on since the 1980s...

Elite sport used to feel more like a collective, shared experience. It was our team, composed of people who lived and worked like us. Now, not so much. More>>

 

PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

In Court: Hamilton Student's Lawsuit Over Climate Change Policy

A law student from Hamilton is preparing to challenge the Government in the High Court on Monday over what she says is a “failure” to properly address climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement. As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election