Fishing rule changes to reduce threats to sea lions in the subantarctic Auckland Islands squid fishery have been decided.
New Zealand sea lions are a national taonga. They were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s, but have been recovering since hunting was prohibited. Their threat classification has recently been upgraded from Nationally Critical to Nationally Vulnerable to reflect signs of population recovery, says Fisheries New Zealand director of fisheries management, Stuart Anderson.
"Commercial fishing in the Auckland Islands squid fishery (Squid 6T) is one of the threats to these sea lions. However, the best available evidence is telling us that equipment used to allow sea lions to escape from fishing nets, called Sea Lion Exclusion Devices, or SLEDs, are working.
"All vessels in the fishery voluntarily use SLEDs, but as part of new changes to the fishery's operational plan, this equipment will now be mandatory.
For more information see the Fisheries New Zealand website.