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Sea lion pup increase great news

February 27, 2017

Sea lion pup increase great news


The Department of Conservation’s annual survey results that show sea lion pup numbers on the Auckland Islands have increased this year by 14 percent have been welcomed by the seafood industry.

Chief Executive of Deepwater Group, George Clement, said the industry remains fully supportive of DOC’s conservation work in the Subantarctic and of their monitoring of the sea lion populations in particular.

“Over the past decade, while some sea lion populations have increased in size, the Auckland Islands rookeries have shown concerning declines in pup numbers, principally caused by disease and by deaths due to starvation after falling into holes.

“Industry is committed to ensuring effective mitigation of any risks to sea lions by fishing, including the use of Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLED), regular training of crews on how to identify and mitigate the risks, and observers on board trawl vessels to audit performance and identify where further improvements could be made.

“Although fishing does not affect pups, adult sea lions do occasionally enter our nets while feeding. The use of SLEDs has reduced the annual number of sea lion captures to typically between one and six per year,” said Clement.

“It is great news that pup numbers are increasing and we will continue to support the government’s efforts to further increase this population through research into pup mortality.

“We are committed to continuing to play our part to protect this unique and endemic species – both in lessening the numbers of interactions between sea lions and fishing gear, and in putting resources and funding into efforts to increase the sea lion population,” Clement said.

A study on the efficacy of Sea Lion Exclusion Devices is available here; HAMILTON & BAKER 2015


ends

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