POLL: Should New Zealand fur seals be culled in South Australia?

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A South Australian MP wants a fur seal along parts of the SA coast because they are causing problems for other wildlife and the fishing industry.

Liberal MP Adrian Pederick moved a motion in state parliament on Thursday calling for a management plan and a sustainable harvesting of .

Seal numbers around the Murray Lakes and the Coorong, south of Adelaide, have been increasing in recent years and are now estimated at more than 100,000.

“They’re just invading the Coorong, lakes Albert and Alexandrina and they’ve even gone north of Murray Bridge,” Pederick said.

“They’re also causing major havoc to the fishing industry down here because they’re just like rats of the sea, they attack nets and bite fish in half.”

The number of New Zealand fur seals around the Murray Lakes and the Coorong are estimated to be more than 100,000. Photograph: Lyndall Hawke/AAP

Pederick said the seals were responsible for slaughtering penguin populations on Kangaroo and Granite islands and also caused problems for other birdlife including pelicans.

Greens MP Tammy Franks opposed any cull, describing it as a knee-jerk reaction to a complex problem.

She said her party was equally concerned for the fishing industry and other wildlife but that other options should be considered including acoustic harassment devices.

“We need to be talking with the experts and the community and exhausting other options before we resort to practices like culling,” she said.

Pederick said he understood the idea of a shooting program was a sensitive issue and said he remained open to other suggestions that would solve the problem.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 02 Jul 2015.

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