Introduction

After a NZ fur seal was rescued from entangled fishing gear at Wainui Beach, Gisborne on 10 April 2013, DOC is reminding the public of the dangers marine debris pose to seals.

Date:  11 April 2013

After a NZ fur seal was rescued from entangled fishing gear at Wainui Beach, Gisborne, the Department of Conservation (DOC) is reminding the public of the dangers marine debris pose to seals.

DOC staff responded to a report from a member of the public on Wednesday 10 April 2013 that a NZ fur seal was entangled in recreational fishing gear. Nylon with a 20 oz sinker and two hooks were embedded in the seal, says Ranger - Biodiversity Assets, Jamie Quirk.

NZ fur seal entangled in fishing gear. Photo: Jamie Quirk.
NZ fur seal entangled in fishing gear

“We captured the NZ fur seal and removed the items. It also had a plastic tag showing it was tagged at Open Bay Island off the West Coast near Haast some distance away.”

“We would like to thank the public for their call. If you encounter a seal on or near a beach, please leave it to rest.”

The public can also help by making sure to dispose of litter carefully, and picking up any fishing material or other marine debris when they see it, and disposing of it in a bin.

If you find a seal that is severely injured, or entangled in marine debris, or being harassed by people or dogs contact the DOC Hotline 0800 362 468. 

Background information 

  • NZ fur seal/kekeno are found around mainland New Zealand, the Chatham Islands, subantarctic islands and parts of Australia.
  • The seal population in New Zealand is estimated at 50,000-60,000 although this is probably an underestimate. Prior to human arrival, there were about two million seals. Seal populations around the country appear to be recovering apart from some colonies on the West Coast. Anecdotal evidence points to an increase in seals around Banks Peninsula.

Related link 

NZ fur seal/kekeno

Contact

Jamie Quirk
Ranger, Biodiversity Assets
+64 6 869 0460 or +64 27 432 4920

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