Marine biodiversity thriving in Upper Gulf St Vincent

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					                                                     29 January 2009

Marine biodiversity thriving in
Upper Gulf St Vincent
Priority areas for marine conservation were identified this week with the release     Media contacts
of the outer boundaries of South Australia’s network of 19 marine parks.              Stephen Cox
                                                                                      Media Manager
The outer boundaries of the marine parks need to be large to allow flexibility
                                                                                      Corporate Communications
during the second phase of establishing the marine parks network, when
                                                                                      Phone    08 8204 9109
management plans with zoning arrangements are developed.
                                                                                      Mobile   0423 822 992
These zones will allow for different levels and types of use of the marine
environment, and complying with them will be straightforward.               

Even when the zoning arrangements are finalised, which is expected to take
place in late 2011, the majority of each marine park, including all jetties, boat
ramps and popular beaches, will be available for fishing and other local

The abundance and variety of marine life in 971 square kilometres of the Gulf St
Vincent is being recognised with the creation of the Upper Gulf St Vincent
Marine Park, which includes the upper reaches of the Gulf north of a line from
Parara Point to the northern end of Port Gawler Beach.

The park, which represents 3 per cent of the marine parks network, has been
designed to include multiple examples of local habitat types typical of that

This helps protect species whose life cycles depend on access to feeding,
spawning, breeding and nursery habitats in small areas, as well as species
dependent on areas separated by anything from tens of kilometres to hundreds
of kilometres.

The Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park is home to the largest area of near pristine
mangroves in South Australia at the Light River Delta.

The marine park also contributes large areas of dense seagrass to the marine
parks network, with the largest seagrass meadows found on the eastern side of
the Gulf between Port Wakefield and Port Gawler.

Similar to the Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent is an example of an inverse estuary
where salinity is higher at its headwaters then at its mouth.

The goal of the marine parks network to protect species of conservation concern
and other ecologically important species is met in the Upper Gulf St Vincent by
including the habitat of the uncommon and unique Magpie Fiddler Ray.

Thousands of migratory shorebirds spend the summer feeding and resting in the tidal
mudflats and saltmarshes in the area before returning to the Northern Hemisphere.

Department for Environment and Heritage News Release, page 1/2
The Middle Beach to Port Parham area of the park has been identified as an area of international
significance for many bird species including the red capped plover and the vulnerable banded stilt.

Upper Gulf St Vincent provides important breeding and nursery areas for a range of key recreationally
and commercially fished species including King George whiting and blue swimmer crab.

Many of these species disperse throughout the gulf and beyond as they mature, so the upper reaches
of the gulf feed a local commercial fishing industry that targets blue swimmer crab and several scalefish

South Australia’s marine parks network has been designed to adhere to a set of principles, which
include scientific and community considerations.

Among the 14 design principles are the need to consider current users of the marine environment, the
need to maintain linkages with existing protected areas, and consideration for indigenous and cultural
heritage interests.

Department for Environment and Heritage staff will work closely with local commercial fishers to ensure
displacement of commercial fishing effort is kept to a minimum when multiple-use zoning is introduced.
By getting involved with the marine parks planning process, you can help make sure the parks are
designed with all of the available information and become a true asset for your local community.

To help make sure local people get involved in the process, more than 50 information sessions will be
held all around the State in coming weeks.

In the Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park area, information sessions will be held at:

February 19 (Thursday) – Port Wakefield – Port Wakefield Town Hall, Edwards St – 11am - 7pm

February 12 (Thursday) – Maitland – Maitland Town Hall, Robert St – 11am - 7pm

February 22 (Sunday) – St Kilda – St Kilda Boat Ramp, St Kilda Road – 10am - 5pm

For more information about South Australia’s marine parks program, or to make a submission about the
marine parks network, go to or phone 1800 006 120.

Department for Environment and Heritage News Release, page 2/2

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