Gulf St Vincent

Gulf St Vincent

What is Gulf St Vincent to you?

A playground with great beaches, somewhere to go walking, swimming, crabbing, fishing or sailing?

A place of business, where ships ply the coast, where fishermen make their living, where salt is manufactured, where drinking water is produced?

A complex marine environment, with a diverse range of habitats for fish, invertebrates, birds, mammals, plants.

The receiving waters for runoff from roads, sewage plants, building sites, storm drains.

The gulf is all of these things, and its long-term health depends on our ability to manage the things that threaten water quality – the main factor affecting the gulf’s condition.


Flotsam and jetsam on the high tide line at the beach

Biodiversity – life above and below the surface

Coastal ecosystems in SA are unique, with 3-5 times as many macroalga species as there are corals in the Great Barrier Reef. We have the highest biodiversity for a temperate region anywhere in the world, and 60-90% of our species aren‘t found anywhere else.

While our gulf is not as threatened as many other places in the world, it is quite vulnerable, due to the unique biota and environment. Our waters are very low in nutrients, with natural nutrient levels less than one tenth of other temperate systems. Those environments are better able to deal with nutrient influx, but ours are less able to cope. This is why we have experienced such devastating loss of seagrasses in the past 50-60 years.

But there are still relatively unique and untouched areas in the gulf, and many of these will be protected by the proposed South Australian marine park network.

Even along the metropolitan coast we can get a glimpse of the variety of marine plants and animals that live nearby. A walk on the beach following a storm can be a rich experience if you stop to look at what has been washed up!

Among the colourful array of creatures you might find are:

  • algae
  • bivalve and gastropod molluscs
  • cephalopods
  • sponges
  • starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers
  • crabs and other crustaceans
  • lace corals
  • fish
  • sea squirts
  • birds

Seagrass washed up after storm


Seagrasses grow in vast meadows in the shallow coastal waters of the gulf. They provide food and shelter for a large range of marine creatures, and they also stabilise sand on the sea floor, just as vegetation on land prevents erosion.

Increasing population and urbanisation, particularly on the Adelaide Plains, has resulted in the destruction of more than 4,000 hectares of seagrass – the most severe losses occurring in the 1960s – 70s. The main cause of the seagrass loss is excess nitrogen, and the biggest sources are sewage and industry.

Another factor in seagrass decline is turbidity – muddy water. Silt and other pollutants are washed into the gulf after heavy rains and reduce light penetration for days at a time. Eventually the silt settles quite close to shore, and is then stirred up again by prevailing winds.

When you see large piles of seagrass on the beach, it is probably a sign that recent storms have uprooted more seagrasses.

 We continue our conversation with featured speaker Sarah-Jo Lobwein about the work she does regarding single use plastics #swapforthesea . What has been your favourite or most impactful achievement to date? . “When another local venue or business in my local council area contacts us to work with them or to promote that they have embraced plastic-free alternatives, they add to the growing tide of change happening locally and globally. . This then adds more support, influence and encouragement for more businesses and individuals to become aware and change their behaviours. . Personally, working with the next generations also has a great personal, local and global impact. Children are amazed and shocked when they find out what items consist of plastic (such as chewing gum) or why a product cannot be recycled, or why an animal has died from plastic pollution. . They innocently yet intelligently ask “why” we use single use plastics and why companies use ‘hidden’ plastics without public notification and think of easy solutions rather than making excuses to keep polluting. . They still go and purchase an ice cream wrapped in plastic packaging, but the seed is planted in their thoughts, and it is not their responsibility that the packaging is harmful; it is the brand’s responsibility to be providing a sustainable option.” . To our #FoGSV Community, what impact can you have? Think of the ripple effect, your action can and will have an onflow affect. You can influence family, friends, your work and local businesses just by being an inspiration in your own circle of influence. . . . . . . #waronwaste #waste #saynotoplastics #refuse #recycle #reuse #repurpose #upcycle #protectourgulf #saveouroceans #gogreen #nature #conservation #climateaction #marinedebris #beachcleanup #bethechange #adelaide #fogsv #friendsofgulfstvincent
 . Following on from our first instalment, we hear more on Sarah-Jo’s presentation and look out at the end, you may be shocked! . Please provide a brief overview of your talk topic: . “Sea Change - Local plastic pollution, marine conservation and Community Empowerment through Education, Awareness, and Action to change attitudes and practices and  #SWAPFORTHESEA - empowering the community and individuals to change their behaviour by discussing and embracing simple everyday, sustainable swaps that are easy to do, and will drastically reduce your plastic consumption while maintaining a ‘convenient’ lifestyle! . Immiscible - why water and plastics do not mix - simple solutions to avoid single use plastic pollution to Stop the sea drowning in plastic - Global pollution, Global solution - raising the awareness of contributing countries, communities and individuals. . Simple plastic-free alternatives and choices to follow without changing our convenient lifestyles at home and while travelling the seven seas, which will have a huge positive effect for the ocean, the flora and fauna and ultimately ourselves! An engaging look at a serious problem including the ‘hidden’ plastics we use (did you know most chewing gum is made of plastic?), the effects on marine life and humans, and easy preventative actions for individuals.” . Did you know about the chewing gum?  . . . . . . #waronwaste #waste #saynotoplastics #refuse #recycle #reuse #repurpose #upcycle #protectourgulf #saveouroceans #gogreen #nature #conservation #climateaction #marinedebris #beachcleanup #bethechange #adelaide #fogsv #friendsofgulfstvincent

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