Entanglement of Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals in lost fishing gear and other marine debris before and after Government and industry attempts to reduce the problem

Brad Page*, Jane McKenzie, Rebecca McIntosh, Alastair Baylis, Adam Morrissey, Norna Calvert, Tami Haase, Mel Berris, Dave Dowie, Peter D. Shaughnessy, Simon D. Goldsworthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years, Australian governments and fishing industry associations have developed guiding principles aimed at reducing the impact of fishing on non-target species and the benthos and increasing community awareness of their efforts. To determine whether they reduced seal entanglement in lost fishing gear and other marine debris, we analysed Australian sea lion and New Zealand fur seal entanglement data collected from Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Contrary to our expectations, we found that entanglement rates did not decrease in recent years. The Australian sea lion entanglement rate (1.3% in 2002) and the New Zealand fur seal entanglement rate (0.9% in 2002) are the third and fourth highest reported for any seal species. Australian sea lions were most frequently entangled in monofilament gillnet that most likely originated from the shark fishery, which operates in the region where sea lions forage - south and east of Kangaroo Island. In contrast, New Zealand fur seals were most commonly entangled in loops of packing tape and trawl net fragments suspected to be from regional rock lobster and trawl fisheries. Based on recent entanglement studies, we estimate that 1478 seals die from entanglement each year in Australia. We discuss remedies such as education programs and government incentives that may reduce entanglements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume49
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arctocephalus forsteri
  • Entanglement
  • Fishing
  • Marine debris
  • Neophoca cinerea
  • Plastic

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Entanglement of Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals in lost fishing gear and other marine debris before and after Government and industry attempts to reduce the problem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this