The Federal Government has rejected calls to increase protection of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish in South Australia's Upper Spencer Gulf, voting against a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Penny Wright to reassess their environmental listing.
"Cuttlefish numbers at Point Lowly have plummeted from over 125,000 just three years ago to less than 10,000 today," Senator Wright said.
"The South Australian State Government has failed to take action on this catastrophic decline and further industrialisation is planned for the area.
"The last assessment took place in February 2011 when numbers were still over 100,000. In light of the recent collapse, a re-evaluation is urgent.
"The annual breeding season at Point Lowly is the only one of its kind known in the world and a very popular tourist attraction.
"This unique cuttlefish population is on the brink of extinction. For economic and environmental reasons, this lack of action from the Federal Government is unacceptable - we need action now."
The motion read:
That the Senate-
(a) expresses deep concern about the upper Spencer Gulf population of the giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) which has catastrophically declined from a high of over 200 000 individuals in 1999 to less than 10 000 individuals in 2012; and
(b) calls on the Gillard Government to urgently reassess whether or not the upper Spencer Gulf population of this species is eligible for listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.