Sea Lions

New Zealand sea lions are unique to New Zealand and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. It is thought that before humans arrived in New Zealand sea lions were found right around the coast. Sea lions were hunted for food and skins but have been protected by law since the late 1800s. Their population of around 12,000 is now restricted to southern New Zealand and sub-Antarctic waters. Most breed on the Auckland Islands but a large number breed on Campbell Island and they appear to be recolonising Stewart Island. The Auckland Islands have a marine reserve extending 12NM to help protect these breeding colonies as well as other marine life here. In places the foraging grounds of sea lions overlap with fishing grounds. To manage interactions, we use Sea Lion Exclusion Devices, which allow sea lions to escape fishing nets alive and unharmed. These have proven successful and fishing is no longer a threat to local sea lion populations. This video explains how they work.