Monday, 5 January 2009

GREENY BULLSHIT ABOUT HOOKER SEALIONS



The standard is going crook about new Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley increasing the allowable sealion bycatch for the squid industry.

We know this issue very, very well. There is nothing "threatened" about the Hooker Sealion population - there are thousands of the buggers in and around the oceans way south of New Zealand where the squid fishery is largely based. Note the use of the word "threatened" rather than "endangered" - which does mean that something is demonstrably in trouble.

BB gets up close and personal ( well as close as you can get considering their propensity to suffer from cetacean halitosis) with these wonderful creatures on a regular basis. We have even hand feed them and swum with them. Never stand in their poop. It is as vile as animal poop gets. Its normally white with little fishy bits in it and very slippery and it sticks to rubber like - well poop sticks to rubber. And they will chase you on land but in the water they dont seem to give a shit about you.

So the Standard and Forest and Bird are getting all hysterical because National has imposed a much more realistic level of by catch from 81 to 113.

Now, in 1998 lots of pups died from some mysterious bug. Curiously and importantly, overcrowding was not discounted as a possible factor in the spread of the unknown malady.

Up until that point there were an estimated 15,000. In 2003 it was estimated that the population was about 13000. Both of these figures are wildly speculative and considered to be a underestimate of actual number which fisheries experts put at about 20,000 . There is a population of about 30 - 35 that resides in Small craft in Port Pegasus. DOC estimated it at the time to be 5 -1o animals which has been one reason we have never trusted their estimates. As you will witness from the pics - an young one on the left and an old beachmaster on the right - they spend quite a bit of time deep in the bush. These two were photographed by BB about 1km inland up a fresh water creek with towering rimu all around.
So DOC takes pics of the ones on the beach - not the ones in the bush - which at any time seem to be about half the population.

They are truly magnificent animals and we were deeply upset when a fisherman shot some of them a few years back and left them to rot on our island beach. However we are also pragmatic and the Squid industry is an important one for New Zealand the forth largest in earnings at 86 million a year.

So at less than one percent this bycatch is still very, very low.

DOC's lickspittles over at Forest and Bird should look at other burning issues like cats on Stewart Island which do huge amounts of damage to small bird life instead of twittering and tweetering about the minimal collateral damage to yet another species of, to coin a phrase from Ta Tipene O'Regan, "charismatic mega fauna." But then thats the rub, F and B wouldn't get much traction for calling for a cull of a heap of bad pussies. So, instead, they just pick on the causes that will appeal to an animal cuddling public to ensure the donations keep flowing. How venal.

1 comment:

kehua said...

Kia Ora BB, all the very best for 2009. You are correct with the Donation Mongering, any form of bullshit & mis-information is the common denominator of most of these lying bastards, SAFE [aka animal -uckers] are amongst the worst. Question, are they registered as charities? do they pay tax?