Do the right thing: Help keep Kangaroo Island’s marine environment pristine
Locals and visitors are reminded how to help keep Kangaroo Island’s pristine waters rich in biodiversity and abundant with marine life.
The ocean surrounding Kangaroo Island supports a bourgeoning tourism industry, as well as commercial and recreational activities, which all rely on a healthy and well-protected marine environment.
Department for Environment and Water, Kangaroo Island Coasts Project Officer, Danny Male said South Australia’s marine parks are designed to protect plants and animals and the marine environment where they live – like national parks do on land.
“There are a total of 19 marine parks across the state, and four are found around the island,” Mr Male said.
“Marine parks are working to protect the health of whole marine ecosystems, not just particular species.
“Within marine parks are sanctuary zones, which give marine life a safe place to go about their business of breeding, caring for young and growing to adulthood.
“Sanctuary zones are natural places where people can boat, swim, snorkel and dive, but fishing is not allowed.”
Mr Male added that there are also approach restrictions in place to help protect marine mammals like whales, dolphins and seals in South Australian waters.
“While it is amazing to see these mammals in their natural habitat, it is important not to disturb them, particularly if they are feeding or nursing their young,” he said.
“If a marine mammal emerges close to your vessel, it’s important that you slow down and come to a stop until the animal moves away. It is illegal to intentionally follow the animal within the approach restrictions required.”
For more information, including details about marine mammal approach restrictions visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/enjoy/whale-watching
• In Commonwealth marine waters – from three nautical miles to 200 nautical miles offshore – the Australian Government manages a network of marine parks. Two of these adjoin the Western KI and Southern KI state marine parks, enhancing protection of the important marine ecosystems and habitats within them. Further information on the Australian marine parks can be found at: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/marine/parks/
• Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) are responsible for commercial and recreational fishing, including boat, bag and size limits. These limits are critical to maintaining the long term health of our fish stocks by ensuring that enough fish of each species remain in the water to reproduce and replace those removed each year. Further details can be found here: http://pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/fishing_limits
• The foreshore around the island is under the control of Kangaroo Island Council. This is defined as the land extending from the low water mark to the nearest road or property boundary, or for a distance of 50 metres from the high water mark (whichever is the lesser). There are council by-laws that control activities such as camping, lighting fires, driving vehicles or having dogs off the lead within these areas. Further information can be found at: http://kangarooisland.sa.gov.au/bylaws