26 September 2023

Survey ticks off healthy cuttlefish numbers

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The Giant Australian Cuttlefish in the State’s northern Spencer Gulf is spawning its population higher than the average over the past decade according to a survey from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

Research Director of Aquatic Sciences at SARDI, Mike Steer said this year’s annual scientific count recorded a healthy tally of about 107,000 animals.

Dr Steer said the population was in keeping with abundant fish numbers recorded over recent years and followed a record count of nearly 250,000 animals last year.

“This species has a life cycle of less than 18 months, so large variations in the population size are expected,” Dr Steer said.

He said the survey results had been provided to the Giant Australian Cuttlefish Working Group which provides advice to the Minister in relation to management arrangements to protect the cuttlefish spawning aggregation.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, David Basham welcomed the survey’s finding saying the population fluctuation recorded highlighted the species’ natural variability.

“There has been a significant change in numbers year-on-year, and this year’s count follows an exceptionally high number recorded in 2020,” Mr Basham said.

“The population has rebounded strongly from the critically low count of about 13,000 in 2013, and pleasingly this year’s numbers are higher than the average over the past decade,” he said.

The Minister said the Government increased the protection zone during the cuttlefish breeding season this year.

“In addition to the permanent cephalopod fishing ban, which is in place to protect the Giant Australian Cuttlefish at False Bay, we implemented a temporary 100-metre fishing exclusion zone around Point Lowly,” Mr Basham said.

Information about the Giant Australian Cuttlefish can be accessed at this PS News link.

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