NZ’s Oceans, Marine Life at Risk

Wellington, – Ninety percent of New Zealand’s sea birds are at risk of extinction, as “serious pressures” threaten the future of New Zealand’s oceans.

The Our Marine Environment 2016 report, released on Thursday by Statistics NZ and the Ministry for the Environment, found that New Zealand had the highest number of threatened seabird species in the world. More than a quarter of marine mammals were also at risk. It was due to a degraded environment, the report said. Global warming and polluted coastlines were among the causes.

The report looked at the impact of fishing practices on vulnerable species, particularly bycatches, when an animal is inadvertently caught and killed in a fishing net. However Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said the number of bycatches had decreased. “The number of seabirds caught by commercial fishing bycatch almost halved from around 9,000 in 2003 to 5,000 in 2013.” It remains a major cause of death for several species, the report said. Damaging fishing methods such as trawling had also decreased, but still had a substantial effect on the marine environment, the report said.

Source: Qatar News Agency