The announcement today that the Government will contribute $2.8 million over four years to fund further research into the mortality of sea lions has been welcomed by the seafood industry.
Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister, Maggie Barry made the announcement a short time ago, and acknowledged the fishing industry was playing its part in mitigating mortalities but work is needed on other threats to the species.
“We support the Government taking a proactive approach to ensure this unique animal thrives,” said Deepwater Group chief executive George Clement.
“The industry is pleased to see Government’s recognition of the number of threats to these endangered sea lions and we will continue to support ongoing research and management necessary for sea lion conservation.
“We have major concerns about the deaths of sea lion pups on sub Antarctic Islands. The incidences of disease and drowning in holes causing hundreds pup deaths every year needs to be urgently addressed. It is distressing to see so many pups die every year in what are mostly preventable circumstances," said Clement.
The New Zealand sea lion is the world’s rarest sea lion and classified as nationally critical.
Around two thirds of all sea lion pups are born at the Auckland Islands.
The annual pup survey of sea lions on Auckland Islands, managed by DOC and funded by DOC and industry, has been running since 2002.
The 2016 survey estimated 1727 pups were born on Auckland Islands, a 15 percent increase on the lowest estimate from 2009. However, most of these are not expected to survive their first year. We look forward to this boost in funding directly contributing to a reduction in these pup deaths.