The Conservation Council of South Australia (CCSA) is calling for the immediate end to the practice of gillnetting in Australian sea lion habitat. A small shark fishery targeting gummy sharks (sold as flake in fish and chip shops) is using gillnets, a type of net known to drown sea lions. CCSA is alarmed at the continuing risk to which sea lions are being exposed.
A 2010 report* calculated 374 sea lions are killed by the shark fishery every breeding season.
Sea lions are drowning in unsustainable numbers putting 40% of colonies at risk of extinction. The report by SARDI (South Australian Research and Development Institute) states bycatch of female Australian Sea Lions must be reduced to ‘zero or close to zero' to adequately protect the species over its entire habitat. The report found that additional losses of 1-2 female sea lions per year could result in up to 40% of colonies becoming extinct.