The Eyre Peninsula marine parks include some of our wildest off-shore islands, the beautiful Chain of Bays area and Coffin Bay, which is famous for its oysters. The parks cover a huge diversity of coastal habitats, from seagrass meadows and sponge gardens to sandy sea floors, spectacular reefs and nationally significant wetlands.
The Neptune Islands in particular are important aggregation sites for the great white shark, one of the most iconic and revered of all marine predators. Tourists come from around the world to experience the thrill of cage diving with great whites, to swim with bluefin tuna, join adventure fishing charters and, of course, feast on the area’s magnificent seafood.
The Eyre Peninsula is known for its wonderful fishing opportunities, and outside of the sanctuary zones fishing will continue to be a big part of West Coast life. Surf fishing is especially popular at Locks Well Beach near Elliston, and the Australian Salmon Fishing Championship will continue to take place. Up to 13 species of whale visit the tip of Eyre Peninsula, making the Thorny Passage Marine Park an ideal place for whale watching.
Baird and Venus Bays are nursery areas for a number of species of our favourite fish, such as King George whiting, snapper, salmon, garfish and flathead. A number of shark species breed or feed in the area, including bronze and black whalers, school, gummy and great white sharks, while the wetlands are home to a range of shore and sea birds.
Western blue groper
The western blue groper is found in reef areas around the West Coast. A favourite with divers, it can reach 1.7 m, weigh up to 40 kg and will live in the same small area for many years.
Bottlenose and common dolphins breed and calve in the Thorny Passage Marine Park. They are inquisitive, intelligent marine mammals and will often approach boats of all sizes.
Weedy sea dragons
With their long bodies and leafy appendages, weedy sea dragons come from the same family as sea horses and pipe fish. They are usually found in seagrass meadows and on reefs.