Threat to cuttlefish

May 30, 2006
haven't posted in a long time, but after I read this I immediately wondered if you knew about this. the possibility of it happening is very real and it makes me sad that governments still ride roughshot .... I guess we haven't come very far as a race if it's all still about greed! It can't be allowed to happen!

this link is a transcript of a radio interview with Tony Bramley, whom we met a couple of years ago when we were diving in Whyalla. He's a lovely and gentle guy who's very much in love with the giant cuttles and courageous to get up and fight for them!

radio transcript

Shipping jetty 'threatens cuttlefish breeding'

Researchers and environmentalists say the jetty could have a devastating effect on the cuttlefish.


Researchers and environmentalists say the jetty could have a devastating effect on the cuttlefish. (AAP: South Australian Tourism Commission)

Audio: Jetty plans threaten cuttlefish breeding ground (AM)

Map:Whyalla 5600

Plans to build a huge shipping jetty in the Spencer Gulf in South Australia could threaten the livelihood of one of Australia's most interesting marine creatures.

The giant Australian cuttlefish uses those waters to breed, attracting divers and snorkelers from everywhere to witness the spectacular rituals.

Researchers and environmentalists say the jetty could have a devastating effect on the cuttlefish.

Once a year, for four months over winter, tens of thousands of giant Australian cuttlefish swim into the top of South Australia's Spencer Gulf to mate and spawn.

Whyalla diving business owner Tony Bramley says people come from Australia and overseas to marvel at the colour and drama of the underwater rituals.

"It's become recognised as one of most spectacular, visually stunning and guaranteed marine tourist attractions on the planet," he said.

"The bigger males will extend themselves, make themselves look as big as they can and have a very visually spectacular display, colour patterns running up and down their body, trying to impress the female and outdo the other males."

"Underneath that you've got smaller males trying to sneak in, they're called open sneakers - and then you've got smaller males again who hide under ledges and rocks.

"You've also got the smallest males who will hide themselves under the big males, camouflaged as females."

Breeding patterns

Associate Professor Bronwyn Gillanders of the University of Adelaide is heading research efforts to find out more about the giant cuttlefish's movements and habits.

She says the rocky ledges in that part of the Gulf are perfect for the cuttlefish's breeding patterns.

"This is the only suitable rock platform reef where they can lay their eggs, it's not like they can move from that area and move further north or further west because those sort of habitats just don't exist," Professor Gillanders said.

Because of the cuttlefish's specific needs, environmentalists and researchers are now very concerned about proposed mining construction in the seas where the creatures aggregate.

The South Australian Government has just announced plans to build a three-kilometre jetty out into the Gulf at Port Bonython to service huge mining ore ships.

Infrastructure Minister Pat Conlon says future demand from China for iron ore is expected to pay for the $400 million construction.

"We've got new mines coming on stream every year, getting built very quickly some of them," he said.

"I've no doubt that once the port passes all of the environmental planning tests that it will be a very successful venture."

Greens MP Mark Parnell is unhappy with the decision and wants the Government to rethink the port's location.

He says the giant cuttlefish's breeding rituals are too sensitive for massive upheavals in its habitat.

"They only live for one or two years, which means that if we get something wrong in a very short period of time you can wipe them all out. So, I'd urge them to go and look at alternative sites. I don't think this is the best spot," Mr Parnell said.

Construction of the jetty outside the cuttlefish breeding time could be one option. But the disagreement between the government and environmentalists isn't expected to end anytime soon.
Oh my god thats awfull they should definetly do it somewhere else cuttlefish are amazing creatures i hope they agree to make the jetty somewhere else

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