Concerns about the safety of Whyalla's unique Great Australian Cuttlefish population have been raised with Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, who has agreed to raise them with the state government.
Minister Birmingham attended a dinner hosted by the Whyalla Tourism Focus Group on Sunday night where Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin and hotel developer Barrie Harrop spoke to him about their concerns, arising from the state government's decision to lift a ban on fishing cuttlefish in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
Mayor McLaughlin said she advocated the importance of the cuttlefish very strongly with the Minister, calling for the fishing ban to be re-instated.
"There should be no more fishing of the cuttlefish in our region, it's so important for the tourism of our city and the state," she said.
"It's such a special tourism attraction, attracting thousands of people to our city each season. We believe they should be protected - fishing of them in the Spencer Gulf needs to stop now."
Mr Harrop, who is bringing a $100 million nine-storey hotel to Whyalla in the New Year, also called on the Minister to address the issue as the cuttlefish could be 'wiped off the Earth'.
"This is national tourism and national heritage they are toying with here," he said.
Mr Harrop is also pushing for the Stony Point to be World Heritage listed to ensure the protection of the cuttlefish for many years to come.
The cuttlefish are a big part of why Mr Harrop is investing in Whyalla, as he plans for the colourful critters to draw in visitors during the winter.
"Eventually everyone in the world will want to come to see this unique attraction," he said.
Minister Birmingham confirmed local businesses and tourism operators in Whyalla had raised the cuttlefish protection issue with him.
"I have agreed to convey the community's concerns to the State Government," he said.