Further Australian sea lion deaths reiterate importance of fishery management measures
Humane Society International (HSI) has today expressed its concerns at the ongoing deaths of Australian sea lions, following the deaths of two further animals in March. This is in addition to the deaths of four Australian sea lions in the fishery in February, making a total of eight Australian sea lions having been killed this fishing season.
“The deaths of more Australian sea lions in the South Australian gillnet fishery is an ongoing concern, particularly for the nearby colonies, many of which cannot take the loss of a single female from their numbers, and further demonstrates the importance of the strict management measures in place in the gillnet fishery” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International.
“Humane Society International has worked hard to ensure that threatened Australian sea lions are afforded the best possible protection from the impacts of fishing. The management measures taken to date to close zones following Australian sea lion deaths are important responses to allow time for local sea lion populations to recover. We urge fisheries managers to examine the circumstances surrounding all these deaths so as to avoid any further mortalities in the fishery of this threatened native species” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
It is expected that a further zone will be closed as a result of the latest mortality. Specific ‘trigger limits’ of Australian sea lion mortalities have been set as part of the Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy, implemented in the gillnet sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery which targets gummy sharks, in 2010. Each closure is for a period of 18 months to reflect the 18 month gestation period of the Australian sea lion and to allow time for affected sub-populations to recover.