No herding fish in Sanctuary Zones

Staff of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources want to clarify some confusion as to what can and cannot be done within sanctuary zones, including the Kellidie Bay Sanctuary Zone in the Thorny Passage Marine Park near Coffin Bay.

83 sanctuary (“no-take”) zones have been declared in South Australia’s coastal waters, to help protect and conserve local marine life and habitats.

Dr Shelley Harrison, Marine Parks Regional Coordinator for DEWNR said that within these sanctuary zones, fishing and collecting are no longer permitted.

“For sanctuary zones to protect the ecosystems within them, restrictions on more activities than just fishing are in place”.

“This includes restrictions on motorised water sports and the feeding of and interfering with wild animals.”

“Herding kingfish, or any other species, from the Kellidie Bay Sanctuary Zone so that they can be caught outside the sanctuary zone is in effect interfering with these species and is therefore not permitted.”

It is widely accepted among the community that a large number of kingfish and snapper enter the zone to spawn.

The Kellidie Bay Sanctuary Zone was designed by the local Lower Eyre Peninsula community through the Marine Parks Local Advisory Group process. This is a special area, with the mudflats and intertidal seagrass beds being important habitat for small fish and invertebrate species, which in turn support a large range of migratory and resident shorebirds and waterbirds. The subtidal soft bottom and seagrass habitat are important for various species of fish of (including whiting, flathead and flounder) sharks (including whaler, gummy) and rays (including eagle and fiddler) and invertebrates (western king prawn and octopus). Eagle rays court and give birth in the shallows.

“Kingfish have been targeted by fishers in Kellidie Bay for many years as they enter the shallows to spawn".

“Fishers may continue to fish for kingfish in Kellidie Bay, just not within the Sanctuary Zone”.

“You can still enter the Sanctuary Zone in a boat, anchor up and observe and admire the diverse marine life in this area.”

“Most of the anglers who target the kingfish in Kellidie Bay are locals, are conservation minded and recognize the value of a Kellidie Bay sanctuary zone in allowing the large numbers of kingfish and snapper that aggregate here the opportunity to spawn.”

“Due to the unique nature of this fishery, there has been some confusion as to what was actually allowed.”

Ms Harrison said she hoped that this information would help boat users and fishers to understand that they can enter the sanctuary zone to admire and appreciate the fish, and that the fishing and acts preparing for fishing (like herding the fish) were not allowed within the zone.”