The Marshall Government has announced that new speed limits within the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary (ADS) to improve safety for dolphins and watercraft users will come into effect on 29 April this year.
The new Harbors and Navigation (Speed Limits – Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary) Variation Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) were developed after extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders who use South Australia’s busiest port.
The Regulations will enforce a 7-knot speed limit within greater parts of the ADS (see attached map). A significant portion of the ADS already has 4 and 7-knot speed limits in place.
“The Marshall Government recognised that there was a lot of community concern around the welfare of our Port River dolphins,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.
“That’s why we conducted a thorough consultation process with relevant stakeholders to improve safety for our dolphins and get the best outcome for the port.
“The speed limit changes we are enforcing should better protect our Port River Dolphins and improve safety for other watercraft users.
“The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary is an important safe-haven for our Port River dolphins and provides tourism and recreational opportunities.
“The Port River Dolphins are a real draw card for locals and tourists to come down to Port Adelaide.
“We’ve also seen almost a doubling in the number of expiations issued after signage was amended nine months ago and as a result of increased patrols.
“We conducted a thorough consultation process and held a roundtable with key stakeholders, including Flinders Ports, Dr Mike Bossley, Paddle SA, Kayaking SA, RecFish SA, the South Australian Fishing Alliance, Wildcatch Fisheries and the Boating Industry Association.
“It was important that we struck the right balance between protecting our beautiful Port River dolphins without adversely affecting human safety and that of boat and other watercraft users.
“Port Adelaide is the busiest commercial port in South Australia and is crucially important to our economy, so it was crucial that these changes wouldn’t negatively impact the commercial operations run by Flinders Ports.”
The South Australian Museum has confirmed that since the ADS began in 2005 there have been two confirmed boat strikes on dolphins, in August 2009 and December 2010.