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.

 Continuing on with our chat with Featured speaker Sarah-Jo Lobwein and the work she does in regards to single use plastics #swapforthesea 2. Plastics - what can’t you avoid or still struggle with finding an alternative? . “Dried Dog food that’s not overly expensive (but recently found a brand that is meant to be home compostable packaging but will have to see if it passes my dog’s taste test!), potato and corn crisps (there seems to be alternative to all other snack packaging except for these) and CDs – I have always loved the joy of purchasing a new music CD and most come in plastic hard or paperboard plastic covered. Those three all have alternatives, but they are my naughty weaknesses. . The main struggle for me, as a someone who is gluten AND lactose intolerant AND travels to remote places, is sometimes I have to eat a lot of rice or just accept the plastic until I find a way to get the venue or place to change. Usually I take my own packaging with me and then bring it home to recycle, for example when I am home my bread comes in paper or reusable bags, but travelling I will take with me gluten free bread in plastic sealed bags.” . Plastic Free July example of a ready to go reusable kit you can have waiting by the door as you head out. . . . . . . . . #waronwaste #waste #saynotoplastics #refuse #recycle #reuse #repurpose #upcycle #protectourgulf #saveouroceans #gogreen #nature #conservation #climateaction #marinedebris #beachcleanup #bethechange #adelaide #fogsv #friendsofgulfstvincent
 Continuing on with our chat with Featured speaker Sarah-Jo Lobwein and the work she does in regards to single use plastics #swapforthesea . 1. Plastics - what have become your favourite swap items? . “There are technological advancements and inventions, (or rediscoveries of what society used before we became addicted to plastic), all the time that amaze me – straws made out of wheat for example, and consumable soft bio plastic packaging of pasta made out of algae that we can just throw into boiling water etc. . But my favourites are the every day items – reusable, take your own or compostable straws, cutlery, takeaway containers, coffee cups, water bottles, shopping bags, paper bin bags and produce bags because they are so easy and accessible –humans were using them before plastic was invented or became prolific. The ones that reduce waste in general such reusable or not using an item at all is the best solution (such as not using a straw), and then compostable such as paper or bamboo. . Personally I can’t believe how empty my bins are once I phased out most plastics – I use the paper sandwich/ mushroom veggie bags or paper retail shopping bags for my bin and wash out the bin if it gets dirty (and there are businesses now that can come clean your bins!) - there is always an alternative.” . . . . . . . . #waronwaste #waste #saynotoplastics #refuse #recycle #reuse #repurpose #upcycle #protectourgulf #saveouroceans #gogreen #nature #conservation #climateaction #marinedebris #beachcleanup #bethechange #adelaide #fogsv #friendsofgulfstvincent

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