The need for a governing or oversight body for the Port River and Barker Inlet has been repeatedly raised over the past 20 years.

In 2000 the Barker Inlet and Port Estuary Committee (BIPEC) was formed, with members from state and local government agencies, industries, and representatives of wetlands management, to implement an integrated approach to management.

In 2004 BIPEC called for a formal management body to take an ecosystem level approach to improve the health of the region and for that body to develop an Action Plan. Subsequently BIPEC was discontinued, no Action Plan developed and responsibility for management continues to be shared by a variety of agencies and different spheres of government.

More recently, in their 2022 interim report, the Select Committee on Dolphins in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and Port River recommended the establishment of a transparent governance framework to provide clarity of regulatory authority of the Sanctuary.