Greg James

Franklin Harbor Marine Park

Franklin Harbor Marine Park
Investigator Investigator Thorny Passage Thorny Passage Neptune Islands Gambier Islands West Coast Bays Investigator Thorny Passage Sir Joseph Banks Group Upper Spencer Gulf Eastern Spencer Gulf Southern Spencer Gulf Lower Yorke Peninsula Upper Gulf St. Vincent Encounter

General Marine Park Information

Covering some 636km2, the Franklin Harbor Marine Park is located along the western central coast of Spencer Gulf, bounded by Munyaroo Conservation Park in the north and Gibbon Point in the south. One of the primary aims of this marine park is to protect the waters of Franklin Harbor which act as a nursery for many commercial fish species.

Franklin Harbor is a land locked bay with access to openwater restricted to a narrow channel located at the northern end of the bay. It is a sandy/muddy bottomed bay with extensive mangrove systems and some sandy beaches, not to mention the large sand/mud banks that form mainly near the channel entrance. These sand bars can represent a significant danger to the unwary boat driver, and care should be taken at all times when navigating the waters of Franklin Harbor.

The tidal flows in Franklin Harbor can be extremely strong especially near the entrance channel, and the numerous commercial oyster leases that operate within the harbor also add to the boating hazards. It is a lovely place to see by boat and the fishing can be excellent, just make sure to keep your wits about you!

The open coastline of the marine park to the north and south of Franklin Harbor is typical of medium-low energy environments, with sandy beaches backed by low cliffs and the odd tidal flat and mangrove system.

GPS Boundaries*

  • The western most point of the marine park lies just southwest of Gibbon Point at the high water mark near 1364548.44E, 334944.92S.
  • It extends southerly for a short distance to 1364548.44E, 33506.44S, before heading easterly into open water to 137727.65E, 33506.44S.
  • North easterly to 1372353.45E, 332826.4S, just out from Munyaroo Conservation Reserve.
  • Northerly to 1372353.45E, 331932.63S.
  • Westerly to hit the coast in line with the northern boundary of the Munyaroo Conservation Park at 1372241.7E, 331932.63S.
  • Back south westerly along the coast at median high water mark (including Franklin Harbor) to the first point listed above.

Fishing Information

As mentioned previously, Franklin Harbor is the location for extensive oyster aquaculture, with dozens of farms spread through the northern and southern sections of the harbor. The calm waters of the bay, combined with the strong, regular tidal flushing and nutrient rich mangrove areas provide an excellent environment for the oysters, and of course fish! Fisherman will find plenty of whiting, squid, mullet, garfish and flathead available in the waters of Franklin Harbor, and blue swimmer crabs may also be caught in the sandier bottomed sections.

In the coastal sections to the north and south of Franklin Harbor, anglers will find blue swimmer crabs aplenty with other small fish such as mullet, sand whiting and garfish also present.

*Note: GPS boundaries are approximate positions only. For more detailed information, please refer to the DEH website