CONSULTATION NOW CLOSED
New Zealand sea lions/rāpoka are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world with a population of around 10,000 individuals. New Zealand sea lions are classified as nationally critical (the highest threat classification) and are found only in New Zealand.
New Zealand sea lions are likely the most threatened sea lion species globally, due to their declining numbers and restricted breeding range.
Once found along the entire length of the coast from the northern end of the North Island down to Stewart Island and the Subantarctic Islands. Sea lions were nearly hunted to extinction by early Mäori and European settlers who mainly hunted sea lions for their soft pelts until the late 1880’s when they were formally protected. Today most New Zealand sea lions are found on the Subantarctic Islands, however small numbers of breeding sea lions are beginning to re-establish on the mainland around Otago and Southland.
The New Zealand sea lion has declined by over 50% in the past 15 years in the Auckland Islands. A decline in the Auckland Islands is concerning, as this is where nearly three quarters of all New Zealand sea lion pups are born.
The exact cause of the decline in the Auckland Islands population is unknown, but it is likely due to a combination of both natural and human related factors. One of the biggest human related threats to New Zealand sea lions is by being killed or injured by squid trawl fisheries, particularly around the Auckland Islands.
Being classified as nationally critical means we should do everything possible to ensure our sea lions recover. There are a number of threats faced by New Zealand sea lions, including disease outbreaks and competition for prey. The main threat we can manage is by removing the threat of being killed or injured in fisheries. This is critically important if we are to ensure New Zealand sea lions have the best chance of recovery.
Have your say
A draft Threat Management Plan (TMP) for the nationally critical New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka is open for public feedback. To make your own submission go to the Consultation on the Threat Management Plan for New Zealand sea lions/rāpoka web page or alternatively use our ‘quick submission’ form below.
Submissions are due by 5.00pm Friday 19 August 2016.
Make a submission
Use the editable form below to make a submission and let’s make sure the Government gets this right in helping our sea lions. Use can use the points listed below or edit as you see fit.