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Sea lion quota decision gives green light to kill

Sea lion quota decision gives fisheries green light to kill

The Government's decision to increase the number of sea lions that can be killed by squid fishers shows that it is more interested in keeping the fishing industry happy than in preserving endangered species, the Green Party says.

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton announced the new limits this afternoon. This was followed very closely by congratulations by fisheries lobby group the Deepwater Fisheries Stakeholder Group.

Greens' Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says the minister's decision to increase the kill quota sends the squid fishery industry a green light to exceed the bycatch limits anytime they like.

"The squid fishery was rightly closed last year, when the number of sea birds killed exceeded this quota. That is the price paid for exceeding the bycatch limit.

"But Anderton's decision today rewards them by allowing them to kill more protected sea lions this year. His reasoning that the fishers should be compensated for missing out last year because of the early closure is wrong. There is no point having a bycatch limit if the fishery can simply trade off the deaths of one protected species one year for the deaths of another the next year.

"It is a disgrace that Anderton is following National's previous approach of extending the bycatch limit every time the fisheries industry complained. The bycatch limits are carefully balanced to protect vulnerable species while enabling the fishing industry to proceed. Anderton is tipping the balance in favour of the industry, seriously risking the long term survival of these sea mammals," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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