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Southern Squid Trawl Fishery (SQU 6T) Operational Plan and sea lion protection

Update – 8 April 2024

Decision on Southern Squid Trawl Fishery (SQU 6T)

The Minister for Oceans and Fisheries has made decisions on the management settings for the southern squid trawl fishery (SQU 6T).

The decisions are based on best available scientific evidence along with feedback from consultation.

The SQU 6T fishery presents a low risk to sea lions

A fishing-related mortality limit (FRML) is no longer required in SQU 6T to avoid, remedy, or mitigate the effect of fishing-related mortality on the resident New Zealand sea lion population at the Auckland Islands. The previous FRML expired on 30 September 2023 and has not been extended.

The estimated number of annual fishing-related sea lion deaths in the SQU 6T fishery have declined substantially to an average of three deaths per year over the last decade.

The mandatory deployment of Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLEDs) means that annual sea lion captures are now much lower than the FRML options that were consulted on in 2023.

A high level of observer coverage and mandatory reporting of sea lion captures will enable FNZ to continue to carefully monitor the fishery. Note that if required in future, a FRML can be set at any time.

Decision document

Decision on the fishing-related mortality limit of sea lions in the southern squid trawl fishery (SQU 6T) [PDF, 1.1 MB]

The Squid Operational Plan decision document (B23-0595) has been proactively released.

Consultation document

Consultation on the Southern Squid Trawl Fishery (SQU 6T) Operational Plan [PDF, 3.1 MB]

More information about New Zealand Sea Lions

Consultation background

Fisheries New Zealand was seeking your input on the Southern Squid Trawl Fishery (SQU 6T) Operational Plan. We invited feedback from tangata whenua, stakeholders and the public on the management settings included in the plan.

The purpose of the plan

The operational plan sets out the measures in place in the Squid 6T fishery to manage the interaction between fishing activity and sea lions around the Auckland Islands. The plan sets out a range of measures to avoid, remedy, or mitigate the effect of fishing-related deaths on the New Zealand sea lion population.

The options for management measures include proposals on the:

  • maximum number of sea lion captures (observed and estimated) that can occur in the fishery before it is closed
  • proportion of fishing trips that are required to have a government observer on board
  • duration of the operational plan.

Consultation document

Consultation on the Southern Squid Trawl Fishery (SQU 6T) Operational Plan [PDF, 3.1 MB]

Related document – existing operational plan to 30 September 2023

Operational plan to manage the incidental capture of NZ sea lions in the southern squid trawl fishery (2019-2023) [PDF, 455 KB]

Submissions are public information

Note that all, part, or a summary of your submission may be published on this website. Most often this happens when we issue a document that reviews the submissions received.

People can also ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the content of submissions available unless we have good reason for withholding it. Those reasons are detailed in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

If you think there are grounds to withhold specific information from publication, make this clear in your submission or contact us. Reasons may include that it discloses commercially sensitive or personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold details can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may direct us to release it.

Official Information Act 1982 – NZ Legislation