Nature conservation

Threatened species

Australian Fur-seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)



Saving our Species strategy

This species has been assigned to the Partnership (widespread) management stream under the Saving our Species (SoS) program.

Justification for allocation to this management stream

Less than 10% of the species occurs within NSW.

Conservation status

Strategic importance

Australian fur seals were historically exploited (harvested by people for products such as oil) across their range, resulting in significant population declines. Though pressures from harvesting have ceased, the species is still threatened by human disturbance and conflict, climate change, disease, and fisheries interactions (e.g. bycatch), and entanglements. To support the long-term survival of the species, management is required to minimise threats and allow the species to recolonise haul-out and breeding sites in its historical range. In NSW, fur seals are only known to breed on Montague Island, which is important as it currently represents the most northern breeding site for the species – though they historically bred further north. At some sites where seals have been re-establishing, disturbance by recreational users has the potential to limit their permanent establishment at those sites. As disturbance is a key threat, reducing conflict with the community is important to support the long-term viability and recovery of the species. Though monitoring in 2002 and 2007 in SA, Vic, TAS, and NSW showed a general trend of species recovery, the most recent results from Montague Island in 2013 detected a decline in pup numbers. It is not clear whether this is related to a decline in the adult population, a temporal change in resources or conditions, or shifts in regional site usage related to some monitoring sites reaching carrying capacity. As the cause of this decline is difficult to ascertain, ongoing management and monitoring is required to ensure the security of the species in NSW.

Conservation status in other Australian jurisdictions

Conservation status in other Australian jurisdictions not available.

Management objectives

This SoS strategy aims to secure critical populations of this species in NSW in the long-term and maintain its conservation status under the BC Act.

Species sightings and management sites across NSW

How will this species be managed?

Key management sites for this threatened species are being identified by the NSW Government and other program partners, where feasible, cost-effective and beneficial management actions can be undertaken. Currently, 1 management site has been identified for this threatened species.

Management sites

Click on column headers to sort
Site nameSite typeStatusLocal government area (LGA)
South east NSW Contributing site (funding opportunity)Proposed Bayside, Bega Valley, Central Coast, Eurobodalla, Georges River, Hornsby, Kiama, Lake Macquarie, Mid-Coast, Mosman, Newcastle, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Port Stephens, Randwick, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Unincorporated - Sydney Harbour Area, Waverley, Wollongong, Woollahra 

Are you or is someone you know doing conservation work for this species or in this area?

Contact us to tell us about the work. Your input will help OEH evaluate the status of threatened species and provide a broader picture of conservation work across NSW.