Giant Australian Cuttlefish breeding migration threatened – Whyalla, South Australia
Nowhere in the world can the chameleons of the sea, the Giant Cuttlefish, be seen aggregating en masse… nowhere that is, except for the shallow waters off Point Lowly, near Whyalla in South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf. After first learning of their annual breeding migration back in 2002, Emma and I have been fortunate enough to share their waters over the years on several occasions. We’ve followed their history closely- from nearly being fished into oblivion in the late 1990′s to be sold as bait and pet food, through their emergence as an eco-tourism attraction in the mid-naughties and the establishment of a ‘no take’ sactuary zone. Tension around the animal’s turf has never been greater than now though. Numbers of cuttlefish successfully reaching the breeding grounds have plummetted to one quarter of the previous year’s numbers, with no clear explanation. Add to this a formidable series of proposed industrial developments, each threatening to disturb and alter their habitat with the promise of effluent, altered salinity and noise pollution. While industry appears to understate the risks, even short-term damage to their habitat could cripple the already struggling population of Giant Cuttlefish, and bear unknown consequences on the wider ecology. Did you know they are a favoured food of the local dolphin pod among other creatures?
The concern among communities along the Spencer Gulf has been sufficient to raise serious, organised and scientific opposition from prawn and oyster farmers, conservation groups and others, supported by a variety of expert oceanographers, marine biologists and passionate politicians. We have taken it upon ourselves to act, and will be interviewing subjects as of July 28th, and releasing each condensed interview via our NatureScope online video channel. As the story unfolds we will then compile and extend the work, adding animation, extra footage and detail for release in October as the documentary film, working title ‘Cuttlefish Country’.
There are already many ways you can contribute to the cause of protecting this marine wonder. Start by sharing the above video with your friends and colleagues. Share it on Facebook. Tweet about it (and don’t forget the hashtags). Show your teachers… heck, show it at your school assembly. Write to the State Premier and Minister for the Environment. For more immediate detail, visit Cuttlefish Country website, and start asking questions. Who owns the right to pollute or disturb our coast and oceans? How do we band together to defend them?
We’d love to hear what you have to say about the Giant Australian Cuttlefish and this current state of affairs… comment passionately and prodigiously.. with enough public objection and outrage, surely anything is possible!