Department of Conservation researchers on New Zealandâs sub-Antarctic islands recorded a 31% fall in the number of New Zealand sea lion pups born this season. The number of sea lions which the squid fishery around the islands is permitted to kill as by-catch was set in December at 113 â up from 81 the previous year. Forrest and Bird say the fall in the number of sea lion births means that the high kill quote seriousy threatens the ability of sea lion populations to recover. New Zealand sea lions are found only in New Zealand waters and have been classified as a threatened species since 1997. Last year the World Conservation Union (IUCN) elevated their threat status by listing them as being in decline.