In my “News in Brief” report in our May 1998 Newsletter I stated that the Whyalla Sports Diving Club was trying to protect cuttlefish breeding grounds.
A report in The Advertiser later reported a group of people taking more than 230kg of cuttlefish from a closed area near Point Lowly. Another report in The Advertiser then said that huge numbers of cuttlefish were being caught by recreational anglers in the Whyalla area, prompting the introduction of a bag limit for the species. As reported in the July Newsletter the Fisheries Department has introduced a bag limit of 15 cuttlefish per day and a boat limit of 45 per day.
The area bounded by the Santos fence, the Whyalla jetty and the lighthouse has been closed to cuttlefish fishing. The Advertiser of 5/6/98 said that MP Ms. Lyn Breuer called for cuttlefish fishing in the Point Lowly – Black Point area of Spencer Gulf to be banned. Ms. Breuer said that the Whyalla community was deeply concerned about the exploitation of cuttlefish during their breeding season. There has been a massive increase in the commercial catch of cuttlefish over the past three years. That increase has occurred without the benefit of a management program based on scientific evidence.
The next day’s Advertiser said that Fisheries officers were actively policing the recently introduced cuttlefish bag limit. It didn’t claim that the boat limit was being policed though! The new limits (15/bag, 45/boat) had been introduced on about 25th May. It was claimed that several anglers had been caught exceeding the new limits by the 6th June. There was an article titled “Cuttlefish, Too Little Too Late” in the SA Regional Ripples Vol.5, No.1 (the insert in “Waves”). It had been compiled from a media release from Tony Bramley, President of the Whyalla Sports Divers Club.