Thousands rally for cuttlefish protection

PROTECTION: The Great Australian Cuttlefish flock in their thousands to the shores of Point Lowly every year.
PROTECTION: The Great Australian Cuttlefish flock in their thousands to the shores of Point Lowly every year.

More than 5000 people have signed a petition calling on the state government to re-instate a ban on fishing the Great Australian Cuttlefish in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The state government decided to lift the ban in February, following science from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) that indicated fishing outside of the False Bay spawning area would have a 'negligible' impact on the cuttlefish population.

But diving instructor Rosie Leaney didn't want to wait around to see whether or not the cuttlefish population would plummet, electing to create a petition on Change.org encouraging people to put pressure on the government to reverse the decision.

"These animals are quite unique and we believe that they should have as much protection as possible because the population has crashed in the past," she said.

"It's not fully understood why these crashes happen, so the cuttlefish are quite vulnerable. We don't know enough about population dynamics to say 'everything is going to be fine'."

Ms Leaney has been up close and personal with the cuttlefish, regularly travelling to Whyalla from Sydney with her husband to see the cuttlefish aggregation at Point Lowly.

"We really enjoy coming down here, we think it's such a special experience, there's nothing like this in the rest of the world," she said.

"Hopefully as soon as it is safe for people to travel again they'll keep coming down to see the cuttlefish because I think you have to see them to have a better appreciation of how special they are."

A physical petition is also being circulated by Member for Giles Eddie Hughes, who has previously spoken out about the government's decision, in the hope of having it tabled in parliament.

To sign the petition, call the Eddie Hughes MP office on on 08 8645 7800 to have a copy sent to you. Once you have printed it out and signed it, mail the hard copy back to the office.

"Everyone who has supported the online petition should also sign Eddie Hughes' petition," Ms Leaney said.

A Facebook page titled The Cuttlefish Alliance run by the Scuba Divers Federation of South Australia has also been rallying behind the cause of protecting the Great Australian Cuttlefish.