22 July 2015
Conservation SA welcomes fur seal working group
The state’s peak environment body has strongly backed the State Government’s move to set up a working group to investigate non-lethal ways to respond to concerns about the behaviour of long-nosed fur seals in the Coorong.
“I think most South Australians would want and expect to see absolutely everything else tried well before a killing program is considered,” said the Chief Executive of Conservation SA, Craig Wilkins.
“This is a good move by the Environment and Fisheries Departments to look closely at a range of alternative fishing practices and scaring devices.
“What would also help is a short-run observer program to get more information about exactly what impact fur seals are having on the fishery and other wildlife in the Coorong.
“There are a lot of conflicting stories flying around – an observer program is standard in other fisheries to help authorities work out the best way to manage conflicting needs.
“Ultimately, the increasing number of fur seals after they were nearly hunted to extinction in South Australia is a great news story.
“As numbers increase, though, so does the potential for interaction with humans.
“We are so used to managing native species that struggle – we aren’t so good at managing them when they are doing well.
“We need to be looking at how we as humans can change our behaviour first before we try to force wild animals to change what comes naturally to them – or try to get rid of them altogether,” he said.
Media Contact: Craig Wilkins 0417 879 439