We shouldn't allow the squid fishery to kill any of our critically endangered New Zealand sea lions, Green Party ocean spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.
Mr Hughes was responding to the decision by Primary Industries Minister David Carter to allow up to 68 accidental squid fishing related sea lion deaths in the 2012/13 season.
"As a nationally critical endangered species, the magnificent New Zealand sea lion deserves the utmost protection," said Mr Hughes.
"The Minister could protect New Zealand sea lions by ensuring that squid fishers use the sea lion-friendly fishing method of jigging, rather than the lethal trawling method they currently use.
"Furthermore, the Government could increase the size of the Auckland Islands Marine Reserve and implement a population management plan under the Marine Mammal Protection Act."
Mr Hughes said a fishing related mortality limit of 68 was better than removing the limit altogether as was initially proposed by MAF, however, he said even one human-induced sea lion death was too many.
"We don't allow game hunters to accidently kill kakapo or great spotted kiwi. We shouldn't allow the squid fishery to kill any of our critically endangered New Zealand sea lions," Mr Hughes said.
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