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Water: the sea

South Australia's diverse coastal and marine environments are a valuable community resource, providing recreation and pleasure for residents and tourists alike. In addition, these resources are of great biological and economic value to the State.
The coastline of South Australia extends 4,250 km (excluding the islands) and ranges from the rocky shores and sandy beaches of the South East and West Coast to the extensive calm water mud flats, seagrass and mangrove habitats in the gulf regions.

Our nearshore territorial waters, which extend over 60,000 km2, show a wide range of variability across surface sea temperatures, salinities and oceanographic conditions (eg currents, upwellings, gulfs). This variability provides for a broad range of habitats and many ecological niches, which are used for a variety of commercial purposes including sea transport, mineral and petroleum exploration, and commercial fishing and aquaculture.

Our marine and estuarine waters are among the most biologically diverse in the world, with many varieties of flora and fauna endemic to the region. Some examples help to illustrate this diversity:

Over 1,100 different species of green, brown and red algae have been recorded.
There are extensive and diverse seagrass meadows that provide critically important breeding and nursery habitats for fish, crustaceans and other marine animals.
Over 370 marine fish species have been recorded, of which 77 are used commercially. These include traditionally fished species such as King George whiting, snook, snapper, garfish, Tommy ruff and Australian salmon, as well as those meeting developing markets - pilchards, ocean jackets, sand crabs, blue crabs and calamari.
Southern Right Whales regularly visit coastal bays and inlets around South Australia. The Head of the Bight is one of the most significant habitats for the breeding and calving of Southern Right Whales in the world.
Eight species of seals and sea lions are found in our waters, including the rare Australian sea lion and the New Zealand fur seal, both of which breed here.
From Department for Environment and Heritage, Coasts & Marine website

Cape Jervis with part of Kangaroo Island
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Cape Northumberland
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Colony of cormorants
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Dolphin swimming in the wake of a ship
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Fairy penguin
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Images of the River Murray mouth, 1949-2003
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Murray mouth
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Rivoli Bay, and Penguin Island
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Seal carcasses on Pearson Island
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Seal in South Australian waters
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Sea-lion at Dangerous Reef
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Sea-lion caught at Pearson Islands
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