As tens of thousands of cuttlefish begin to gather in the waters near Whyalla for their annual congregation, a new safeguard has been announced to protect their spawning grounds.
As the only known gathering of its kind in the world, protecting the species in the waters of the Spencer Gulf has been an ongoing issue, especially since 2013 when numbers dwindled to a historic low of only a few thousand.
Each year an annual survey is undertaken to record the number, with the 2020 results calculated at over 240,000 cuttlefish visiting the region.
To help protect numbers a Temporary Cuttlefish Closure Area was declared by the State Government on May 14, 2022 which will last for a year, with a current finish date of May 13, 2023.
The area includes all Spencer Gulf Waters north of the line from Arno Bay to Wallaroo.
It will run in conjunction with the permanent Cephalod Exclusion Zone for squid, cuttlefish and octopus spawning areas, which encompasses False Bay with a line drawn from the BHP Jetty in Whyalla to the Point Lowly Lighthouse.
On Friday, May 27, State Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven visited Stony Point, near Whyalla, with Member for Giles Eddie Hughes to announce the delivery of the election promise made by the Labor Government.
"The annual migration of Australia Giant Cuttlefish (Sepia apama) to the waters of the Upper Spencer Gulf to breed, is one of the most spectacular natural events in the Australian marine environment," she said.
"It's right here on Whyalla's doorstep and people from around the world come to make the most of this incredible experience.
"The protection ensures a balance between sustainability, regional tourism benefits and the utilisation of aquatic resources in the area."
Ms Scriven praised the committment of Mr Hughes in helping to secure protection of the unique cuttlefish spawning grounds.
Mr Hughes was delighted efforts to create a safe environment for the cuttlefish had come to fruition.
"It's fantastic to see this result and I want to thank our local community, including those who live outside of Whyalla, for supporting this campaign when Labor was in opposition," he said.
"The closure protects and preserves one of the natural wonders of South Australian marine life and I look forward to maximising the potential that exists for nature-based tourism in our area."
- Details: For more information on protection measures visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/cuttlefish
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