Australian Cuttlefish Backstory

I knew I’d seen these cuttlefish before. Back in December of 2007, they were in the news. The latest–the proposed desalination plant–is only the latest blow. In fact, the plant’s purpose is to provide water for the mining process. So, from nearly 4 years ago, after the jump:

Deep-Sea News reports that my cousins the Giant Australian Cuttlefish may be in serious trouble. It seems they had the lack of foresight to evolve in an area where featherless bipeds would eventually discover uranium, copper, and gold. As of this writing, the link to the original Australian source is down, so you will have to settle for the condensed version on DSN.

Australia is evidence: memories don’t last–
They ought to have learned from mistakes in the past;
The hull of a ship carries passengers, too
(Ask any whose job is to clean off that goo–
Green algae, and seaweeds, and mussels and such
Which can kill off the locals–it doesn’t take much).
This plan should be dropped like a really bad habit,
If Aussies have learned from the tale of the rabbit;
There’s a reason, you see, for the rabbit-proof fence:
Once you bring bunnies hither, you can’t send them hence.
They devastate flora, and quickly outbreed
Their marsupial neighbors–a problem indeed.
Or look to the waters at Port Philip Bay
Where another invasive is living today;
The Northern Pacific Sea Star is its name
At that bay, there’s a full hundred million to blame
For destroying the natives, both mollusks and corals–
When species collide, we get more than mere quarrels.
From foxes and cats, who are powerful killers,
To carp and salvinia, waterway-fillers,
From cane toads to mynas, to red fire ants,
Once here it’s too late, so you can’t miss your chance.
These cuttlefish giants are beautiful creatures
(Just look at the picture! What beautiful features!)
I hope that Port Bonython learns from the past
And decides that they want their Australia to last;
Ecosystems are fragile–we know they can break;
I’m begging you–please don’t repeat your mistake.


  1. zackoz says

    Magnificent as usual.

    You know more about invasive species in Australia than most Australians.

    There’s not only the ones you mention but also feral buffalo, dogs, and camels, and a host of exotic weeds (some of which are gaily cultivated in many suburban gardens, like ivy, cotoneaster and privet). Also water-guzzling trees like willows. But a poem including absolutely everything would have been more of a list than a poem!

  2. says

    You raise the topic of invasive species here wonderfully, and you’re right it’s a serious problem for our kind, and others! Above the water, the desalination plant is one problem (and it’s deadly outfall) and an expanded shipping facility proposed to be built right on top of their chosen breeding grounds is another! The industrial expansion is all driven by a growing need for the mining industry to export minerals to the world by ship, and the environment’s fragile nature is being horribly discounted. increased shipping increases the likelihood of accidents like the Port Bonython oil spill of 1992, and it also brings in invasive species in the bilge water of foreign vessels.

    We’re campaigning for the protection of these water, and there are many ways you can help, wherever you are. Interested readers can find our more at … Thanks for your support CuttlefishPoet, we have quite a fight on our tentacles!

  3. jimvj says

    When I visited Hawaii for the first time, I learned that the mongooses – they are plentiful on ALL islands – were brought there intentionally in an attempt to control the rats, that had been brought there unintentionally. Unfortunately, the mongoose don’t particularly care for chasing rats, and would much prefer the very docile native birds and their eggs.

    It occurred to me that the height of audacity – chutzpah – was to release mongooses on all islands, instead of trying an experiment on one of the smaller islands! Now there is no way to get rid of the mongooses.

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