Fisheries Infosite

Environmental Issue

 Inshore trawl - Fur seal accidental capture

Fur seals sometimes get caught in trawl nets and drown.
New Zealand fur seals are a protected species, and listed by the Department of Conservation as 'Not Threatened'. The risk to the fur seal population from trawl fishing is not known.
Extent of the issue
Fur seals are sometimes caught by vessels in inshore trawl fisheries. We have limited observer coverage in these fisheries and so little idea of the number of seal deaths.
In most places, fur seal numbers around New Zealand coasts have been steadily increasing in recent years.
Current management
Trawl restrictions have been brought in in areas of known Hector's and Maui dolphin range. These restrictions might also reduce seal captures in these areas.
Future management
Observer coverage on inshore trawl vessels has been increased in 2009. This information may give a better estimate of fur seal deaths in these fisheries and will be used to inform future management actions. 
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