South Australia has 19 marine parks and a recent status report shows they’re working and are supported by 92% of all South Australians!
Why is the South Australian marine environment so important?
South Australia is host to some of the most unique marine life on our big blue planet – in fact, approximately 85 – 90% of all South Australian marine plants and animals are found nowhere else. Some of these include Australia’s most iconic species such as the southern right whale, bottlenose dolphin, weedy sea dragon, Australian sea lions, great white shark, little penguin, and giant Australian cuttlefish.
Important marine sanctuaries cover 6% of the states waters, supporting the protection of South Australia’s 6000+ species of invertebrate animals, 1200 species of plants (including at least 12 species of seagrasses), 350 fish species, 16 breeding seabird species and 33 mammal species!
Kangaroo Island Marine Parks
Kangaroo Island is renowned for its magnificent marine life. Australian & New Zealand fur seals, Australian sea lions, and little penguins all breed and live on the island. Just off the coast lies the Kangaroo Island underwater canyons. Here seasonal currents bring food from the depths of the ocean creating the Kangaroo Island Pool, attracting masses of fish, sea lions, whales and seabirds to feed. This area is an important feeding location for the blue whale and the only known feeding spot for the rare strap-toothed beaked whale.
Upper & Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Parks
The Spencer Gulf is rich in marine life, including those vital for the states commercial and recreational fisheries. The mangrove forests and seagrass meadows of the upper reaches of the gulf are a nursery ground for species such as whiting, squid and snapper who gather here to spawn. Point Lowly is renowned for an annual aggregation of the giant Australian cuttlefish, whilst the Neptune Islands, at the mouth of the Gulf, are an important aggregation site for the endangered great white shark.
Great Australian Bight
The Nuyts Archipelago and West Coast Bays Marine Parks cover coastal stretches of the Great Australian Bight in the western portion of the state, protecting parts of the globally significant nursery ground for the endangered southern right whale – a species almost wiped out by the whaling industry. These majestic marine mammals use these waters as a safe haven returning every year to breed, give birth and raise young. This area is also an important breeding habitat for the Australian sea lion and the great white shark, who comes here to feed.