The marine environment in the special region called the Kangaroo Island Pool and Canyons is of huge importance to special wildlife and critical to both Kangaroo Island's fishing communities and ecotourism industry.
This is a magical region with deep canyons where sperm whales dive for squid, spreading plains where sea lions forage and hunt and rock lobsters thrive. It is a region rich with the ancient upwelling waters from the southern ocean.
The petroleum industry is attempting to open this precious area as a new frontier for oil and gas, threatening marine species and the marine environment, including:
- Australian Sealions
- Blue Whales
- Sperm whales
- Shepherd’s beaked whales
- Southern right whales
- Common and bottlnose dolphins
- Great white and school sharks
The industry plans to explore the region with a seismic survey - that means devastating noise pollution.
Please urge the Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, to reject this proposal under Australia’s Federal environment laws
The marine environment of the Kangaroo Island Pool and Canyons is of huge importance to marine wildlife and critical to both Kangaroo Island's fishing communities and ecotourism industry. Your Government has recognized this importance in the South-west Marine Bioregional Plan, including the risk it faces from petroleum industry seismic surveys.
I understand that the industry has withdrawn its previous application, after you had declared it a Control Action. You rightly had concerns about the impact that proposal would have to marine species and the marine environment in this special region. The new Referral (2013/6770) does not address the previous concerns raised about the risk to threatened and migratory species and the commonwealth marine environment, including Australian sealions, blue whales, sperm whales, Shepherd’s beaked whales, southern right whales, common and bottlnose dolphins,
great white and school sharks
Instead, they have avoided the process you had established. I believe you have the grounds to reject their new Referral outright. The industry is relying on unscientific sighting reports from previous seismic surveys and coastal whale sightings to imply species will not be present or not impacted. They completely disregard that sea lions will be foraging in the area all year round. They have not undertaken long-term biodiversity surveys to establish sufficient baseline data about species abundance and distribution in the area. As you said regarding the super trawler, “environmental decisions should be based on sound science and quality information”.
That the industry keeps trying to force through its application highlights to me why this area should never have been opened up for oil and gas exploration. Please take the right decision now to protect it.
Please treat this comment as my formal submission to Referral 2013/6770. I have copied these comments to the EPBC Referrals Division and wish these comments to be taken into consideration during the assessment process.