Informative signs installed at the Whyalla Marina have drawn the attention of a cheerful dolphin who's glad more awareness is being raised about the safety of one of Whyalla's main attractions.
Fin, the steel city's new unofficial dolphin mascot, was in high spirits on Monday when inspecting the signs which encourage the public to 'take my photo but don't feed me, even if I beg'.
The new dolphin signs were coordinated by local Landscape Officers, in partnership with the Whyalla Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service SA, and the Whyalla Barngarla People.
Landscape Officer Barbara Murphy said observing the bottlenose dolphins that regularly frequent the marina was a popular activity, but interfering with their natural behaviour by feeding them can result in serious long-term impacts.
"It can cause the dolphins to become accustomed to fishers and boats, which increases the chance of collisions or becoming entangled in fishing line," she said.
"It can also alter their natural feeding behavior and can stop adult dolphins from teaching their young how to hunt wild fish," Ms Murphy said.
Feeding and touching dolphins is prohibited under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, Protected Animals Marine Mammal Regulations 2010.
Members of the Whyalla public and wildlife experts such as Dr Laurice Dee have been rallying for more protection of the dolphins over the last two years.
In April a pregnant dolphin was sighted being fed water by a person on the marina, with Dr Dee raising serious concerns about the prevalence of illegal dolphin feeding in Whyalla.
National Parks and Wildlife Service Senior Ranger Lana Roediger encouraged people to 'do the right thing, for the long-term benefit to the Whyalla dolphin population'.
"Sea-craft operating inside the marina should keep to the 4knot speed limit and follow a direct course to a berth or the boat ramp and should not actively deviate towards a dolphin," she said.
Anyone wishing to report a distressed dolphin or an incident involving a marine mammal within the marina waters or on the coast of the Eyre Peninsula are encouraged to call the Eyre District Duty Ranger on 8688 3223.