Fishing industry free to kill endangered sea lions
4 December 2011 – Wellington
Forest & Bird
media release for immediate use
Ministry of Fisheries proposes fishing
industry free to kill endangered sea lions
The Ministry of
Fisheries is proposing that the southern squid fishery
should have no limits on how many critically endangered New
Zealand sea lions it can kill.
“The sea lion
population is in decline, and the number of pups born has
fallen 49 per cent since 1998,” said Forest & Bird Marine
Conservation Advocate Katrina Subedar.
fishery around the sub-Antarctic islands where the sea lions
breed has been identified as the most likely cause of the
sea lion population decline.”
The Ministry of
Fisheries’ proposal that no kill quota limit be set is
based on the assumption that sea lion exclusion devices
(SLEDs) in the squid trawl nets are operating as
“All the science shows that this
assumption is unproven,” Katrina Subedar said. “As yet
there is no evidence that SLEDs are operating fully as
intended. We have no proof that sea lions that get out of
the devices survive the encounter.
has a legislative duty to minimise fisheries-related bykill.
Their proposal flies in the face of this duty and could
condemn this species to an inevitable extinction.
“Forest & Bird wants alternative fishing methods such
as jigging adopted, which would mean effectively a zero kill
quota for sea lions. This would help the recovery of this
The proposal has been made by
the ministry in its annual advice to the Minister of
Fisheries. This advice is usually released in early October,
but was this year delayed until after the election. It was
released late on Friday on the ministry website without any
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