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Closure of giant cuttlefish fishery extended

Giant cuttlefish, Sepia apama. (Photo: Yvonne/CC BY 2.0)

Click on the flag for more information about AustraliaAUSTRALIA
Friday, February 13, 2015, 22:20 (GMT + 9)
The temporary closure to all fishing for cuttlefish in northern Spencer Gulf has been extended until 15 February 2016 as part of the South Australia Government’s management of the iconic species.

The closure includes all waters north of a line commencing near Arno Bay on Eyre Peninsula, to Wallaroo on Yorke Peninsula. It is in addition to the permanent cephalopod (squid, cuttlefish and octopus) fishing closure in the waters of False Bay.

Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell said the closure, initially implemented in March 2013, was a precautionary measure while research into the behaviour of the giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama) in the northern Spencer Gulf region continues.

“This closure applies to the targeting and take of cuttlefish, so any cuttlefish inadvertently caught must be immediately and carefully returned to the water,” Bignell said.

“However if you are fishing outside the False Bay area but within the northern Spencer Gulf closure area you will still be able to continue to fish for squid and octopus.”

The minister said various research projects overseen by the Government’s Cuttlefish Working Group are helping to provide some insights into giant Australian cuttlefish.

“The population dynamics of cuttlefish in northern Spencer Gulf are complex. Last year’s survey verified the first population increase of cuttlefish recorded in six years, 57,317, up from the 2013 figures of 13,492.

“However until we can confirm from this year’s survey that this upward trend is ongoing, management measures such as the northern Spencer Gulf closure need to remain in place.”

Bignell said commitment by all levels of government would help to find out more about this symbolic species.

“There are a number of projects underway as part of AUD 805,000 (USD 624,000) in research funding granted by the State Government and the Commonwealth. This work will assist in determining the future management actions required to ensure their sustainability and health.”

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