Bycatch Deemed Responsible for Decline of Endangered New Zealand Sea Lion

Getting caught in fishing nets is a major cause of death for the increasingly endangered New Zealand sea lion, according to new research from the New Zealand’s University of Otago and Massey University and the University of Toronto.

Scientists from the three universities have analyzed government data of the New Zealand sea lion population and fisheries bycatch to investigate the role commercial fishing has played in the near 50 per cent decline of the species.

Their conclusion, published in the international journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), is that, despite measures since 2001 to protect New Zealand sea lions from being killed in fishing nets, commercial fishing continues to affect their numbers. The authors believe the current management of sea lion bycatch in the arrow squid fishery around the subantarctic Auckland Islands places the population at risk of extinction, because the New Zealand government assumes fishing is not a major threat to the species.

Photo: Karora/Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

To view the Creative Commons license for the image, click here.

Sign up today and take the pledge to help save our world's oceans by visiting us at: www.theterramarproject.org

false