Is it OK to kill 104 Australian sea lions to catch sharks ?

Posted by Australian Marine Conservation Society,
06. September 2011

In the waters off our southern coastline, playful and acrobatic Australian sea lions hunt for fish and squid. Spinning and diving and darting after prey, numbers of these beautiful animals are still recovering following historical hunting for their fur. Australian sea lions are rare and threatened, and found nowhere else in the world, but if you thought their days were now free from the threat of extinction, you’d be wrong. Gillnets set to catch gummy sharks hang in the ocean to satisfy Australia’s love of flake and chips. But these walls of death catch more than sharks. The nets snag sharks by tangling their fins in the mesh but also trap the flippers of our beloved Australian sea lions.

Australian sea lion populations are incredibly sensitive to even a few deaths a year. The females only breed every 18 months and stay close to the area they were born, resulting in a scattering of small populations along the southern Australian coast. These little pockets of Australian sea lions are almost unique, so much so that the death of even a single female has a large impact on that colony’s survival.

The shark fishery is managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). They’ve recently put new management plans in place to improve this fishery, but inconceivably they allow up to 104 Australian sea lions to be drowned in nets per year, before the fishery is required to be shut down for the season. But for this fishery to get its export approval, it must make sure that numbers of Australian sea lions are on the rise.

If these wonderful animals, unique to our waters, are to survive and recover, the science says that numbers killed in fisheries must be close to zero. But 104 sea lion deaths is a long, long way from zero.

Australian sea lions need our help. Please act now to help protect our Australian sea lions from drowning in shark nets.

Source: Green Pages


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