Australian sea lions are considered the most endangered sea lion species in the world.
Although currently listed as Vulnerable under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the Threatened Species Scientific Committee is currently considering the species in a higher risk category due to ongoing declines in population numbers. The situation is particularly precarious in WA, where only an estimated 2,000 sea lions remain in small and isolated colonies. As a species found only in Australia it is essential that action is taken to stem their decline.
The WA Government has been required to undertake significant work to protect this species but has failed for a decade to take the necessary steps to actively reduce the number of fishing-related mortalities of the species. It is now imperative that WA implement gillnet exclusion zones to protect foraging Australian sea lions, and reduce their bycatch in their shark fishery.
The gillnet exclusion zones must extend at least 20 kilometres around each Australian sea lion colony in Western Australia ensuring no fishing occurs in these areas, thereby reducing the number of interactions and mortalities caused by fishing.
Western Australia has until the 30th June to confirm that they will enforce the gillnet enclosure zones, which are a federally imposed condition on the Western Australian West Coast Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Managed fishery.
These closures are now a matter of urgency and we need your help to ensure that the WA Government meet their deadline and finally take this essential action to protect Australian sea lions.
Help us convince the WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly that gillnet exclusion zones are vital for the conservation of Australian sea lions and that their implementation needs to happen now.
TAKE ACTION: Tell West Australia’s Fisheries Minister, the Hon Dave Kelly MLA, that gillnet enclosure zones are vital for the conservation of Australian sea lions. WA must be firm and take immediate action to reduce Australian sea lion bycatch in the Western Australian demersal gillnet fishery.