The increase in independent observers in the same shark fishery also coincided with a massive spike in reported dolphin mortalities. Between Sept 2010 and Sept 2011 47 dolphin deaths were recorded. With the fishery and the government already under the spotlight for the sea lion mortalities, Conservation Council SA was pleased the government moved quickly to protect dolphins, announcing an extensive closed area of 27,239 km2, where gillnets cannot be used, and a broader 'buffer zone' where independent observers or video monitoring must be on every fishing vessel. While this closure was in reaction to dolphin deaths, Australian sea lions in the more easterly colonies such as the North and South Pages, and Seal Bay, will also benefit from the closure.
Early 2012 saw another 11 dolphin mortalities, this time off western Eyre Peninsula, Bass Strait and the Coorong.
Conservation Ccouncil SA will continue to scrutinise management measures in this fishery to ensure needless and unsustainable mortalities are avoided.