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

 

Parliament Today:

The Kids: OECD Report Shows Huge Impact Of Poverty On Education

A new report from the OECD has again highlighted the negative effects of poverty, showing that disadvantaged children in New Zealand are more than six times more likely to underachieve in maths than children from wealthier homes. More>>

ALSO:

Pacific: NZ Pledges $500,000 To Help Address Zika

“With the Zika virus now confirmed in a number of Pacific countries, New Zealand is committed to helping limit the impact and spread of the virus in the region,” says Mr McCully. “New Zealand will provide $250,000 as a contribution to the WHO to implement the Pacific Zika Action Plan, and a further $250,000 to enable countries in the region to respond rapidly if required." More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Police Commissioner 'Doesn’t Get Force Needs'

The Police Commissioner has let down the public and his own force by insisting the police have what they need despite it taking a year to solve a burglary and overwhelming number of officers saying they are under-resourced, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Pressure To Expand Our Role In Iraq

Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what the “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Restarts: Prime Minister’s Statement

Our policy agenda and legislative programme will reflect the Government’s four priorities: • to responsibly manage the Government’s finances • to build a more competitive and productive economy • to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, an • to support the rebuilding of Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

NZEI Survey Report: Special Needs Students Missing Out

The survey revealed that around 16 percent of students were on schools’ special needs registers, but nearly 90 percent of schools’ special needs coordinators did not believe there was adequate support for students and their learning... More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Waitangi Tribunal On Ture Whenua Legislation

Labour on Proposed changes to Maori land rules: “To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report..." More>>

ALSO:

Spy Update: Appointment Of GCSB Acting Director

GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) from 15 February 2016, Minister Responsible for the GCSB Christopher Finlayson announced today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news