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MEDIA RELEASE: ENDANGERED SEA LION GILLNET DEATHS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA SPARK COMMUNITY CONCERN

Thu 14 September 2017

Image: Australian Sea Lions by Aengus Moran

Australians will be dismayed to hear that endangered Australian sea lions are still dying in South Australia due to dangerous gillnets, as the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) closes part of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and shark Fishery after at least two reported deaths. The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) welcomes the gillnet closure and investigation - but maintains that even one sea lion death, is one too many.

Josh Coates, AMCS Fisheries and Sustainable Seafood Campaigner:-

“Australian Sea Lions are an iconic and beautiful species found nowhere else in the world, popular with tourists and locals alike. They live in small local populations, so the death of even one individual can have a big impact on a colony's long term survival.”

“This fishery has come a long way since the early 2000s when bycatch of sea lions was far higher. The current trigger limit is two sea lion deaths per zone, with seven zones in the fishery. However we must aim for zero fatalities if we are to allow this species to recover from the long term impacts of seal hunting.”

“AFMA has implemented a net fishing ban for 18 months in accordance with the current harvest strategy, while net fishing in the other six zones continues. AFMA has done the right thing in implementing this ban and we look now to what further management actions will be implemented as a result.”

“We need to quickly see the results of the investigation into why these sea lion deaths occurred. Fishers, fishery managers and the public need to learn from these incidences and quickly implement action to prevent more sea lion deaths in our fishing nets."

Editors notes:

AFMA’s release on the closure including a map of the affected area can be found on their website here:- http://www.afma.gov.au/gillnet-closure-protect-australian-sea-lions-2/

For further information please contact:

Gemma Freeman, AMCS Media and Communications

0412 505 405 - mediacomms@amcs.org.au

Josh Coates, Fisheries and Sustainable Seafood Campaigner

07 3864 6777 - joshcoates@amcs.org.au

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