Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Low count triggers new plan for endangered NZ sea lion

Low count triggers new plan for endangered New Zealand sea lion


A Threat Management Plan for the New Zealand sea lion is to be developed in response to this season’s low pup count on the Auckland Islands, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today from the HMNZS Wellington at Port Ross in conjunction with Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“The New Zealand sea lion is the rarest in the world and New Zealand’s only endemic seal. The 1575 pups counted on the Auckland Islands this year is down 18 per cent on last year and is cause for concern. It is the third lowest since monitoring began in the mid-1990s and shows an on-going trend of decline over the last decade. We need to step up our efforts to ensure these sea lions survive,” Dr Smith says.

The New Zealand (or Hooker) sea lion once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, with their habitat extending throughout New Zealand. However, in the nineteenth century the species was decimated for its blubber and skins, and in August 1997 when he was last Minister, Dr Smith declared the sea lions to be a threatened species under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.

The New Zealand sea lion mainly breeds on the Auckland Islands (70 per cent of the species) and Campbell Island (30 per cent), with small numbers found on Stewart Island. The more encouraging advice is that breeding numbers on Campbell Island are showing improvement and in the last decade, the sea lion has started breeding on the South Otago coast line.

“The cause of the decline in the Auckland Island sea lion population is not clear. A wider investigation was initiated in 2012 that indicated that environmental change and prey abundance were likely to have played a role in the population decline. There is also evidence that a bacterial disease has reduced pup survival rates over the last two decades,” Dr Smith says.

“A decade ago, fishing for squid, scampi and southern blue whiting was catching and killing an estimated 100 sea lion per year. This number has declined significantly with the Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLEDs) developed by the fishing industry. Despite high levels of observer coverage, only a small number of incidental captures have been observed in recent years. SLEDs are a great innovation but we need to continue to monitor the use and effectiveness of these devices,” Mr Guy says.

“The purpose of developing a new Threat Management Plan for the New Zealand sea lion is to review all the risks and explore all possible measures to ensure their survival. Options include active field management such as intervening to reduce the several hundred deaths from misadventure and disease, extending or creating new marine mammal sanctuaries under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, or additional measures to reduce impacts of fishing,” Dr Smith says.

“We are bringing forward the development of this new plan because we want DOC and the Ministry for Primary Industries to get the work underway promptly. The existing operational plan was for this to be triggered if pup numbers dropped below 1500. The two agencies need to work together on this new plan so as to better protect our sea lions, while also recognising that these fisheries generate over $100 million per year in export earnings for New Zealand,” the Ministers say.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Challenges Of Keytruda Funding

All year, the availability of the new generation of anti-cancer drugs in New Zealand has been driven by political decisions, as much as by medical ones... More>>

ALSO:

Land Swap: Setback For Ruataniwha Scheme As Forest & Bird Wins Appeal

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society has won an appeal against a proposed land swap by the Department of Conservation which would have allowed 22 hectares of Ruahine Forest Park be flooded as part of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme that will provide irrigation for farmers. More>>

ALSO:

Up: Official July Crime Stats Released

Official crime statistics for July 2016 show that Police recorded 11,171 more victimisations than the same period last year, which equates to a 2.3 per cent increase. More than three quarters of this increase can be attributed to burglaries. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Judith Collins Charm Offensive

Suddenly, Judith Collins is everyone’s new best friend. It isn’t an election year, but the Corrections/Police Minister is treating 2016 as an opportunity for a political makeover… Feel that the Police don’t attend burglaries often enough, or assiduously enough? She’s the peoples’ champ on that one. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Crime And Diplomacy

The Prime Minister's press conference today was dominated by foreign affairs and an open letter from the PM to the Chinese community on crime. More>>

ACC: Govt Caught In Unethical Cluster Bomb Investments

The ACC Fund admitted that it had $1.4 million invested in cluster munitions and nuclear weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Before responding to the Green Party’s request for information,however, ACC sold its Lockheed investment and updated its ethical investment policy. More>>

ALSO:

Local Governments To Decide: Easter Trading Bill Passes

The union representing working people in the retail industry is condemning the Government for whipping its MPs to pass the controversial Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news