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Greens Call For More Protection For NZ Sea Lions


12 April 2002

Greens Call For More Protection For New Zealand Sea Lions

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today welcomed a Government decision to close the Auckland Islands squid fishery, saying far too many endangered sea lions had been killed in squid trawl nets.

Since the squid fishery started in the early 1980's over 2000 sea lions have been killed. The New Zealand sea lion is the world's rarest.

"This fishery is consistently killing far too many sea lions and the Greens are disturbed at confirmation from the Ministry of Fisheries that some squid fishers have not been complying with operational plans, with the result that the exact number of sea lion deaths can not be measured," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The set limit of sea lion deaths per year has been exceeded in five of the last seven years. We are dealing with a rare and unique species here.

"The squid fishing industry needs to adopt alternatives to trawling, and other fisheries such as those for scampi and orange roughy which also drown sea lions need to be excluded from the Auckland Islands."

Ms Fitzsimons said she strongly supported calls from Forest and Bird to extend the current marine mammal sanctuary out to 100 kilometres off the Auckland Islands.

"The Greens welcome this closure of the squid fishery but if we are to stop more and more sea lion deaths in the years to come a more long term protection plan needs to be introduced."

Ends

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