Increased protection for Giant Australian Cuttlefish

Giant Australian Cuttlefish in the Spencer Gulf will have an increased protection zone this breeding season with a new 100-metre fishing exclusion zone off the coast of Port Lowly.

This 100-metre strip will be closed on a trial basis between 14 May and 10 August 2021 and will be an expansion of the permanent cephalopod fishing ban which is in place to protect the Giant Australian Cuttlefish at False Bay.

The Marshall Liberal Government is also partnering with the Whyalla City Council to deliver the $4 million Cuttlefish Sanctuary Tourism and Conservation Project.

This is a significant investment into establishing tourism supporting infrastructure to enhance the visitor experience and support the ability to manage additional tourists to the location each year.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the expanded protection area was decided after considering the advice of the Giant Cuttlefish Working Group.

“The cuttlefish working group meets every year to discuss the latest science and stakeholder views,” Minister Basham said.

“This season the State Government has decided to implement a temporary 100-metre fishing exclusion zone around Point Lowly to help support tourism at False Bay.

“The most recent scientific population survey has shown Giant Australian Cuttlefish to be at record numbers with nearly 250,000 estimated in the last count. This is fantastic news and supports our government’s way of using the best available science to inform our decisions to ensure healthy fish stocks.

“This should be celebrated by all South Australians and in particular the local Whyalla community and tourism industry who can expect to have another big year in 2021.

“The latest population data should give everyone confidence this species has rebounded back to vibrant levels from the critically low levels of 2013.

“With scientific research showing fishing has had a negligible impact on cuttlefish populations and the permanent False Bay closure protecting the spawning aggregation area, the Giant Australian Cuttlefish has a safe haven and bright future in Whyalla.”

The latest annual survey conducted by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) in June 2020 – to coincide with the peak spawning period – found numbers had more than doubled from 2019, with the population size estimated at 247,146.

Since 2013, the South Australian Government has contributed $860,000 for research to ensure we understand as much as possible about this species and take every step necessary to support the species.

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