20 Dec 2008

Forest and Bird challenges increase in sea lion kill

5:49 pm on 20 December 2008

The Royal New Zealand Forest & Bird Society is shocked by a Government decision to increase the number of sea lions squid fishing trawlers can kill next season.

The Ministry of Fisheries has raised the number from 81 to 113.

Forest & Bird spokesperson Kirstie Knowles says she cannot understand why a 40% increase has been announced.

She says scientific evidence suggests the quota should be zero, as the species is unique to New Zealand waters and in decline.

The Fisheries Minister, Phil Heatley, says it is a conservative decision and allows the sea lion population of about 16,000 to be maintained.

Forest & Bird is considering challenging the ruling.