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Key messages

  • Our coast is an invaluable natural asset, subject to the cumulative impact of multiple pressures including pollution, resource use, habitat modification, pests and diseases, and climate change.
  • More than 90% of South Australians live within 50 km of the coast, with 75% clustered in Greater Adelaide.
  • Most of the state’s marine habitats are in a 'good' to 'very good' condition, with the areas in best condition generally located away from development, such as the West Coast. Examples of marine habitat condition are as follows:
    • There have been recent increases in mangrove cover along the SA coast.
    • The areas covered by coastal saltmarsh are generally stable, although they have increased in 2 regions (Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, and South East) since 1990.
    • Seagrass cover is improving after historic losses.
    • The condition of reefs is largely unknown, but recorded as 'good' in some areas.
    • Populations of coastal and marine native fauna and flora are declining in areas with the highest concentration of people and development.
    • 76% of regulated fishery stocks are classified as sustainable, 7 stocks are declining and 3 are overfished.
  • Protecting the SA coast from the impacts of climate change is a priority. This includes investment in sand retention, seagrass restoration, wetlands protection, stormwater harvesting and establishment of shellfish reefs.
  • 44% of SA marine waters is protected, with 6% highly protected.
  • Biosecurity in SA coastal and marine environments is stable, with no new diseases or invasive species detected in 2017.
  • Where state managed fish stocks are in decline or overfished, strategies have been implemented to promote stock recovery.