Chain of Bays Chain of Bays
July 04, 2022, 07:18:25 pm *
News: Here we explore the traditional lands of the Wirangu Nation. We pay respect to Elders both past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain images, voices and videos of deceased persons. Videos can be viewed via your browser flash player extensions.
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The Australian Sea Lion

The Friends of Sceale Bay formed in 2001, in response to a proposed marine aquaculture development at Sceale Bay. This proposal would have placed a large finfish farm in waters near a very significant breeding colony for the endangered Australian Sea Lion. This breeding colony, on a remote rocky outcrop off the waters of Cape Blanche, was previously unknown to science. Dr Peter Shaughnessy, a renowned CSIRO researcher of Sea Lions, surveyed the colony for the first time, and its true significance for the species became known. The Nicholas Baudin Island Australian Sea Lion colony is now recognised as one of the largest and most successful breeding sites for this endangered species. We campaigned strongly against a marine aquaculture development near this colony due to the risk of entanglement and other impacts on the marine environment at this location. To our great relief, the aquaculture development was rejected, and Premier Mike Rann announced the new Nicholas Baudin Island Conservation Park and Aquatic Reserve in November2002.

Coastal Development

Many of the threats to coastal species and coastal places are closely associated with planning and development decisions at the local level. Even if conservation reserves are established along the coastline, many of the values within these reserves, and the species which inhabit them, can be threatened by development in the adjacent land. In addition to the impact on endangered species, development along the coast has the potential to restrict coastal access and reduce the scenic amenity of wild coastlines.
Our group opposed the development approval of several houses in sensitive locations along the coast, including Searcy Bay, the western side of Calca Peninsula, and the Sceale Bay dunes, and although we failed to prevent three houses from being established in what we believe are inappropriate locations, we have made a significant contribution to the debate which will result in a profound change to planning and development along the South Australian coastline. The Better Development Plan project will establish a standard framework for development assessment, prescribed in local government Development Plans. The coastal zone has been expanded to include areas which are subject to coastal processes (e.g. sand-dunes and areas subject to inundation), and all development within the new coastal zone will be classified as "Non-complying". This does not mean that there will be no development, but that any development will need to be assessed on its individual merits by the Development Assessment Commission.
In 2007, we were successful in preventing a proposed tourist road to Cape Radstock which would have intruded into secluded breeding areas for the White-bellied Sea Eagle. This new road would have continued from the current termination of the Point Labatt Road, to Cape Radstock and the southern end of Baird Bay. Active nesting territories for these birds are located below the cliff-line between Point Labatt and the Baird Bay entrance. Opening these areas up to tourist traffic would have dramatically increased disturbance from above the nests, and this would have placed the breeding success of these birds at risk. Then Environment Minister Gail Gago intervened, and the plan was rejected.
Also in 2007, a developer from the United States sought approval to build a cliff-top house at the northern end of Searcy Bay. We campaigned against this development, which would have been placed within a successful breeding territory for the Osprey. Thankfully, we were successful on this occasion, and the State Government has since purchased this property for inclusion within the State reserve system.
Cape Bauer, at the northern end of the Chain of Bays, is the location for a proposed 300 allotment residential subdivision and tourism resort development. This development has been declared a "Major Project" by the South Australian Government, which means it will be subjected to a comprehensive environmental assessment process. Our group is opposed to the residential subdivision, which we believe is inappropriate for this location. We will continue to oppose this proposal and we will make a detailed submission on the environmental impacts of this proposal during the environmental assessment on this development.

Coastal Raptors

The Chain of Bays coastline is one of the last refuges in South Australia for the Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. These birds nest on cliffs and coastal stacks along sections of the Chain of Bays coastline. In South Australia, these birds are now classified as "Endangered", due largely to the impact of human disturbance on nesting locations. We have pushed for greater protection of these species, and research into their distribution and status within the Chain of Bays. In 2005, raptor expert Terry Dennis conducted a survey of the coastal raptors in the Chain of Bays and concluded that the area was very important for the survival of the Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagle in South Australia. In recent years, a number of Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagles have been deliberately shot and killed in the Chain of Bays. We are still offering a reward of $1000 to any individual who provides information to authorities leading to a conviction on these crimes. We have also witnessed the deliberate spraying of an Osprey nest by a crop-dusting aircraft. These cowardly acts, against magnificent and innocent creatures, show why it is essential to have strong protection measures and the presence of a National Parks and Wildlife office in Streaky Bay.

Coastal Conservation Parks

Our group has mounted a strong case for the expansion of existing Conservation Parks and the establishment of new Conservation Parks in the Chain of Bays region. The Sceale Bay Conservation Reserve was upgraded to Conservation Park status by the then Conservation Minister Gail Gago in 2007. Recently, the South Australian Government has purchased an additional 1200 hectares of private land in the Chain of Bays for inclusion within the State's reserve system. In addition to the purchase of private land, the State Government has announced that it will add large areas of Crown Land, previously classified as "Crown Coast Reserve", to Conservation Parks in the Chain of Bays.

Marine Parks

We have been strong supporters of the South Australian Government's Marine Park program. Three of the four bays in the Chain of Bays will be protected within the outer boundary of Marine Park 3 (currently known as "West Coast Bays" Marine Park). All of the waters of Baird Bay, Searcy Bay and Sceale Bay are enclosed within Marine Park 3. This Park also protects Venus Bay and the northern section of Anxious Bay. We remain hopeful, that in the future, Corvisart Bay and Olive Island will also be recognised for protection, within the outer boundaries of this important marine reserve. We will continue to campaign for the inclusion of these unique areas, which contain some of the most spectacular and diverse reef systems in Southern Temperate waters. Our group is represented on the Advisory Board for Marine Park 3, which will be instrumental in developing zoning and regulations within the marine park. When first proposed, the draft outer boundaries of this park were much smaller, but the enlarged outer boundary of Marine Park 3 is an important recognition for the uniqueness, diversity and condition of the marine environments of the Chain of Bays.
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