A New Zealand sea lion drowning this week in a squid fishing net in the Auckland Islands highlights the need to urgently address questions about the effectiveness of Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLEDs).
WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy says "We understand that accidents happen, but for NZ sea lions to recover, we need the government to work to reduce the number of sea lions accidentally killed in fishing nets to something very close to zero.
“NZ sea lions are the world’s rarest sea lion. Fishing nets are the biggest human-made threat to these precious animals, so it’s important that we take a precautionary approach to fishing in their habitat.
"This particular NZ sea lion was found dead up against a Sea Lion Exclusion Device, something intended to let sea lions escape from fishing nets. This shows that these devices don’t always work.
“For years, we’ve been calling for the government to carry out research to determine how often and how well these devices actually let sea lions escape from fishing nets alive. Now, 2018 is the year to get this research done.”