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Urgent action is required to protect sea lions

Urgent action is required to protect sea lions


WWF welcomes government moves to develop a Threat Management Plan for Sea Lions but is calling for urgent interim measures to protect these critically endangered animals while the plan is developed.

“It is great that the government is reviewing all the risks that sea lions face and is looking at how they can be better protected but in the interim we need urgent action to protect this critically endangered species, said WWF-NZ Marine Species Advocate Milena Palka

The government announced a pup count today that is 18% percent down from last year, and its plan to develop a Threat Management Plan for the New Zealand Sea Lion.

“We would like to see an extension of protection from trawling around the Auckland Islands to protect foraging ground of breeding sea lions.

“The number of sea lions that are allowed to be killed in the squid fisheries also needs to be reduced. It is currently set at sixty- eight sea lion deaths before the fishery would have to stop trawling.

“There should be mandatory use of Sea Lion Exclusion Devices in the Southern Blue Whiting Fishery, and an urgent investigation into improving their effectiveness.

“There is also a proposal to increase the quota for the Southern Blue Whiting Fishery, this should not go ahead until the issue of sea lions by-catch in this fishery has been resolved.

“New Zealand sea lions are critically endangered we need to do everything we can to protect these amazing creatures. The latest low pup count continues to highlight that more needs to be done.

“Any Threat Management Plan needs to be developed quickly, be based on the best science available and include tangible goals and measures that will ensure the recovery of the sea lion population.

“Having sustainable fisheries that looks after our oceans and ensures the survival of the animals that live there is in the long term interest of our economy as it protects New Zealand’s brand, reputation and ultimately our jobs.

“Any plan that trades off the environment for short- term economic gains will hurt us in the long term.

Ends

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