Following the October 1 introduction of several marine parks across South Australia, many have been included along our local coasts, causing mixed emotions within the community.
Located north of Parara Point, to the northern end of Port Gawler Beach, the Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park (Marine Park 14) covers 966km2 and incorporates three per cent of South Australia’s waters.
The four sanctuary zones within Marine Park 14 are said to feature a major fish nursery and spawning ground according to Marine Parks SA.
One zone has encompassed part of the Light River Delta, which is considered one of the most ecologically intact mangrove systems in South Australia, however locals have questioned the placement of the park. The new zoning is larger than the originally proposed zoning.
Chairperson of Mallala Foreshore Advisory Committee, Barbara Reid, of Parham, said the area recommended to be included in the Light River Delta sanctuary zone was excluded.
“It is absolutely pristine down there and we are unsure why it was not included in the sanctuary zone,” she said.
“Someone would have had to develop it from their office, and clearly had not seen the area or where they have put the sanctuary.”
Barbara said it was a popular and quiet spot for fishermen from Parham and across the region with many fish species found along the coast.
Malcolm Frost, who is also on the Mallala Foreshore Advisory Committee, believed it was a huge disappointment for the area and local fishermen.
“The decision has been made without any of the community’s input and a lot of the council members who put this forward don’t live in the area,” he said.
“It was a popular fishing spot for people launching their boat off Middle Beach, if they fish in the Delta for a few hours, I do not understand what the problem is.”
Marine Parks SA said the parks had been carefully designed to avoid popular recreational fishing areas; and access to jetties, boat ramps and popular beaches would not be affected, however Malcolm begs to differ.
“Recreational activities at Light River Delta are now stifled,” he said.
“It is very upsetting that it can go from a popular crabbing beach to no fishing with a closed road that is somehow meant to be a liability.
Malcolm said there are telltale signs of a lack of research on the government’s part.
“Even on the map of the marine park they’ve changed the name of the road from Light Beach Road to Rifle Range Road,” he said.
“As far as I’m aware that hasn’t gone through council.”
Just for the future of Light River Delta and all our local beach environments, Malcolm would like to see more responsibility and effort put into our seashores.
“Our coastal infrastructure is terrible, and unlike the South East, Meningie, Kingston SE, there are clean areas that are well looked after,” he said.
“The Port Gawler Wharf has been left in the same state after a fire destroyed it 90 years ago.”
Cargoes of grain and produce were originally delivered at high tide to the Port Gawler wharf. It was then destroyed by fire in 1920.
Malcolm hoped one day the Light Beach Road will open again and provide access to the pristine beach.
He used to enjoy a spot of fishing, but due to the sanctuary zone he will now be unable to recreationally fish.
“I just do not see why it is a big deal to catch a few mullet off the beach,” Malcolm said.
“There is no alternative.”