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How you can help

Protect dolphins

  • The Patawalonga Lake receives runoff from 230 square kilometres of mixed land use.

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CAUTION around mother and baby dolphins

Please slow down. Do not approach within 150m of a mother and her calf.

It's calving season and we're expecting new calves in the area. Please slow down on the water and look out for calves.

Calves are very vulnerable in the first few months of their life. It's important they have the opportunity to rest, feed and improve their swimming skills.

Watercraft are not to approach within 150m of a mother and calf, and not within 50m of other dolphins.

Dolphins are protected marine mammals. It is illegal to feed, harass or harm dolphins. Penalties apply.

There are many simple ways you can help protect the dolphins and their habitat

DO NOT approach

If out on the water please slow down, keep a lookout and do not approach dolphins.


Do not approach within:

  • 50m of a dolphin

  • 150m of a calf or a dolphin that is sick or injured

It is fine if the dolphins approach you but please do not approach them. It is important that dolphins are able to feed, rest and play.

Please observe the speed limits.

DO NOT feed the dolphins

Feeding wild dolphins is illegal and very harmful to them. Dolphins have many different fishing techniques and are great at catching their own fish.


Feeding dolphins alters their behaviour and causes them to hang around boats and areas where people are fishing, increasing the likelihood of them being hit by boats, becoming caught in fishing line or deliberately harmed.

Dolphins are protected marine mammals. It is illegal to feed, harass or harm dolphins. Penalties apply.

Please reel in fishing lines when dolphins are close

Unfortunately, we have had dolphins that have suffered serious injuries and even died due to fishing line entanglements. Please reel in lines if dolphins are nearby and please make sure to dispose of fishing line and rubbish in the bin.

Please do not throw fish scraps in the water. This leads to dolphins scavenging and hanging around people that are fishing, increasing the risk of entanglement.

Try to avoid using plastic bags and dispose of rubbish responsibly

Plastic bags take years to break down and sadly often end up in our waterways.

Ensure the drain is just for rain

Stormwater from our streets goes straight into the sea. Prevent rubbish, chemicals and other substances from washing into the drains.

Keep in mind when watching dolphins

Please call the Marine Mammal Emergency number (0427 556 676)

if you see:

  • people feeding or harassing dolphins 

  • a sick, injured or deceased dolphin

Educational resources

Fact sheet: Bird information

Fact sheet: Marine Mammal information

Fact sheet: Fish information

Activity: Marine Animals of SA bookmarks

Activity: Colour Your Own bookmarks

Activity: Bird Bingo

Activity: Patawalonga Dolphin Trail bookmarks

Activity: Dolphin vs Shark

Activity: Marine Food Chains

Activity: Stormwater Savers

Activity: Protect Our Dolphins bookmark

NPWSSA Respecting Marine Mammals safety sticker

Useful links

Birds SA checklist

DEW Patawalonga Lake System

Feeding dolphins disrupts their natural feeding patterns

Dolphins do not belong in captivity

Boats pose risk of injury to dolphins

Pollution harms dolphins

Fishing line harms dolphins

Billie - The dolphin that made history


Station 1

at the South Gates


Station 2

opposite the marina


Station 3

opposite the Patawilya Reserve


Station 4

at the Patawalonga boat ramp


Station 5

at the Diversion Basin


Station 6

at the West Beach entry


Station 7

at the Stanley St beach

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