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Sea lion extinction within 24 years on the cards - Dyson

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Pressure is mounting on Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson to take a stand to stop the extinction of the New Zealand sea lion, Labour's Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.

DoC scientist Dr Louise Chilvers has released analysis which outlines the two primary threats to the future viability of the sea lions - squid fishing by-catch and bacterial epizootics.

"Her study and modelling conclude that if protections against the by-catch are not introduced, then we are facing the extinction of this species within the next 24 years.

"The warning comes less than a fortnight before Cabinet is expected to make a decision on future fishing regulations which will impact significantly on the sea lions," Ruth Dyson said.

"It is critical that the Minister steps up to her responsibility as a Conservation advocate.

"If she doesn't we will be fishing one of the world's most endangered sea lion species into extinction in our lifetime.

"The Ministry of Fisheries released an initial position paper covering the by-catch issue last year. Despite a 50% reduction in pup numbers in the last 12 years in the main breeding area around the Auckland Islands, it proposes few restrictions on the squid fishing industry.

"Cabinet is due to make decisions on this paper before the end of the month. The future of this species is dependent on the strength of the voice of the Minister of Conservation," Ruth Dyson said.

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