An online petition is calling on the Federal Government to establish a marine sanctuary over the Bremer Canyon, a recently discovered natural phenomenon about 70km off Bremer Bay, reports Shannon Hampton in the Albany Advertiser on 12 March, 2015.
The petition, started by Save Our Marine Life and supported by Bremer Bay businesses, is expected to be presented to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson.
The Federal Government is reviewing how its marine reserves are managed and Save Our Marine Life national campaign manager Michelle Grady said Bremer Canyon should be protected in its entirety.
The Bremer Canyon gained international attention after Esperance researcher and filmmaker David Riggs revealed the Bremer Canyon was a marine hotspot where killer whales and other marine life aggregated.
“This time of year … a biological event is occurring where the titans of the sea, orcas – otherwise known as killer whales – sperm whales, giant squid, tuna and so on, all converge on this area for this incredible biological phenomenon,” she said.
“(This) is thought to be created by a unique hydrological event, which occurs on and beneath the sea floor with hydrocarbon seepage, which has a trigger effect on the food chain and results in a feeding frenzy for big and incredible marine life, which is something that people from all over are coming to see.”
Ms Grady said previous exploration interest from oil companies such as Cathay and Arcadia had recently been revoked and the organisation wanted to have the area properly protected.
Bremer Bay resident Craig Lebens said he was concerned that if interest from the oil industry returned, it could be devastating.
“If oil goes ahead and there is a spill, tourism will be wiped out, plain and simple,” he said.
Mr Wilson said part of the Bremer Canyon was already covered by the marine sanctuary but he would support a move to have the whole area protected.
“There was very poor science involved in the … original drawing of the boundaries,” he said.
“The fact that the Bremer Canyon was not originally included in its entirety is a major oversight.
“I am more than happy to raise this with the Minister and … apply some science to the marine park boundaries to see them … include the Bremer Canyon area.”