The Giant Australian Cuttlefish spawning population at Point Lowly near Whyalla continues to thrive, a promising result for one of the State's most iconic species.
Population numbers have increased since 2013's record low of 13,492, compared with a significantly higher population of 127,992 recorded in June 2017.
Researchers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) completed their annual population survey, with divers counting the Cuttlefish and estimating their size at 10 sites around Point Lowly in May, June and July.
Under the State Government's management of this iconic species, a fishing closure for Cuttlefish in the northern Spencer Gulf is in place until 15 February 2018 and extends to all waters north of Arno Bay on the Eyre Peninsula to Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula.
This is in addition to a permanent cephalopod (squid, cuttlefish and octopus) fishing closure in the waters of False Bay.
SARDI's 2017 results will help inform future fishing management arrangements including the temporary closure, which will be reviewed with a further announcement in later this year.
Quotes attributable to Dr Mike Steer, Senior Research Scientist, SARDI
It is fantastic to once again see large numbers of Giant Australian Cuttlefish aggregate in northern Spencer Gulf.
This year's population estimate is the third highest recorded over the last decade. The last five years of research has clearly demonstrated the population's capacity to rebound from low numbers very quickly.
Each winter, thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish gather in the northern Spencer Gulf to spawn. It is the only known dense aggregation in the world.
In July 2012, a working group was established to coordinate a response to concerns about the decline in population. The State Government implemented a Cuttlefish closure in March 2013 as a precautionary measure while research, led by SARDI into the behaviour of the Giant Cuttlefish, was underway.
For further information on the northern Spencer Gulf cuttlefish closure visit http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/closures_and_aquatic_reserves/fishing_closures