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Sealion Toll Shameful

Sealion Toll Shameful

The announcement that 115 sea lions can be killed by squid fishery trawl operations this fishing season reflects badly on both the Fisheries and Conservation Ministers says New Zealand First’s conservation spokesman, Edwin Perry.

“The Minister of Fisheries announced a number almost double that of previous years, unmonitored so that the final kill could be much higher, and then threw that particular hot potato to the Minister of Conservation by saying that next year it will be the responsibility of his department.

“In the meantime, in spite of the assertion in DoC’s Statement of Intent 2004-2007 that the department will encourage greater public awareness of the importance of marine conservation, the Conservation Minister has been keeping well out of the debate,” said Mr Perry.

“DoC is developing a Population Management Plan for the sea lions which will be made public within the next 12 months. It would be more reassuring if the Minister confirmed that a management plan would actually be implemented within the next 12 months.

“The Minister of Fisheries’ comment that the plan ‘… could include advice on measures to mitigate fishing related deaths …’ sounds like more pussyfooting around the question of whether the squid fishing industry should be required to use jiggers rather than trawling for squid.

“No one is leaping to make any hard decisions on this one,” said Mr Perry.

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