19 Jun 2010

Zero quota urged for sea lion

6:24 am on 19 June 2010

A conservation group is calling for the annual by-catch kill quota for the New Zealand Sea Lion to be reduced to zero, after the mammal was officially recognised as being critically endangered.

There are estimated to be 9800 left in the wild, mainly on the sub-Antarctic islands south of New Zealand.

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand says the annual sea lion by-catch kill quota for the southern squid fisheries is 76.

It says the Government must do more to protect the species.

The Ministry of Fisheries says the number will be reviewed when the squid season closes.

Chief executive Wayne McNee says the southern squid fishery is worth $80 million per year in export earnings and reducing the quota to no accidental catches of sea lions is impractical.