Keith Luke | Unsplash

A conservation success story for sea lions

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Thanks to a decade long effort by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and Humane Society International (HSI), who collaborated with the government, scientists, and fishers, sea lion bycatch in South Australian fisheries has reduced by 98%.

Following a report in 2010 showing that a large number of sea lions were killed in gillnets in fisheries, the Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy was introduced to protect sea lions. It included measures such as gillnet fishing exclusion zones around all sea lion breeding colonies, cameras on fishing boats and the introduction of closures in parts of fisheries where bycatch was observed. This led to a shift in fishing practices and the use of less damaging longline gears instead.

The success of this conservation campaign sets an important precedent nationally, encouraging the expansion of such measures to other parts of Australia, with potential international relevance as well.

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