Tech & Science : Port Adelaide dolphin calf population decimated - PressFrom - Australia

Tech & Science Port Adelaide dolphin calf population decimated

03:20  19 march  2019
03:20  19 march  2019 Source:

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Port Adelaide dolphin calf population decimated© Provided by ABC Business

Every dolphin calf born in Adelaide's Port Riverthis summer breeding season has died, sparking concerns that the whole population could disappear.

Over the past two years, 10 of the 12 calves born in the Port River have died — many of them after being hit by boats.

The South Australian Government plans to introduce a 7-knot speed limit within part of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary.

Mike Bossley from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society told ABC Radio Adelaide that a calf called Merlin had been discovered dead on Sunday.

He said it was the fourth calf to die in the area near Port Adelaide this summer, after a calf called Sparkle died last week.

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Adelaide (/ˈædəleɪd/ (listen) AD-ə-layd) is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. Adelaide is home to 77 percent of the South Australian population

Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary is a marine protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located on the east coast of Gulf St Vincent in and adjoining the north-western part of the Adelaide metropolitan area and which was established in 2005 for the protection of a resident population of

"If this death rate for calves keeps going, eventually the population will die out and that's really sad for the dolphins and for the people who love the dolphins," Dr Bossley said.

"But it's also quite a significant economic issue because there's quite a lot of tourism built up around the dolphins and they've become a real selling point for Port Adelaide locally and even internationally."

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Port River dolphin Wave is known to have given birth to a calf on Sunday, September 22 but the baby was either still born or died almost immediately after Wave was born around 1992 and is well known for her tail walking performances in Adelaide ’s Port River. Tail walking occurs occasionally in the wild

She says all the Port River dolphin calves , including Scarlett’s baby which hasn’t yet been named, are healthy. “It is always exciting to watch the new calves On April 13, Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary volunteer Donna-Louise Martin snapped this great photo of a two metre shark in the Inner Port River.

About 50 dolphins live in the Port River, which leads to Port Adelaide's inner harbour.

Dr Bossley said they were "the most reliably present urban dolphins in the world".

He said the dolphins were attracted to Port Adelaide despite its perils because it was a fish breeding area and was protected from sharks.

Speed limit being widened

In November, Transport Minister Stephan Knoll announced his department would introduce a 7-knot speed limit into much of the Barker Inlet east of the Port River, most of which currently has no speed limit.

The same limit is already in place in the Port River.

Unlimited speeds would still be allowed around the Adelaide Speedboat Club at Gillman.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Stephan Knoll told the ABC that regulations to introduce the speed limit would be introduced in the coming weeks.

Dr Bossley said boat speeds were one of the few threats to dolphins that could be fixed.

"Some of the other threats are sickness and pollution and so forth, which are very difficult to mitigate but certainly boat speeds are something the [State] Government can very easily do which would help the situation," he said.

In January, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approved Flinders Ports to dredge the Port River to widen the shipping channel.

Flinders Ports this week said it planned to start work in June.

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