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Stop seismic blasting in our Marine Parks

Seismic blasting involves sonar cannons firing loud explosions every 15 seconds. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. It’s like dynamite going off in your lounge-room

The Australian Government has just announced a massive expansion of oil and gas exploration sites, including right next to our Kimberley Marine Park and the beautiful Twelve Apostles. This puts our unique and diverse marine life at risk from deadly seismic blasting.

Tens of thousands of Australians raised the alarm, leading to a first of its kind seismic Senate Inquiry which has just been released. The inquiry highlighted the urgent need for more research, making oil and gas companies contribute to these studies and pay compensation for damages.

But most importantly, the inquiry recommended keeping seismic blasting away from marine parks and critical habitat for marine life.

Sign the petition calling on the Australian government to follow the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry and stop seismic blasting in our precious marine parks.

Image credit ©Yann-Hubert via Canva.com

Read the petition text

Dear Minister Pitt (CC Josh Wilson MP and Senator Whish-Wilson), 

It deeply concerns me that Australia does not consider seismic exploration a threat to our marine life and that it is allowed in marine parks and areas important for our protected marine life and fisheries.

The Senate Inquiry into seismic testing has recently tabled its final report. This was Australia’s first inquiry into the impacts of seismic surveying from oil and gas exploration, and the findings were clear. The Australian public, coastal communities, scientists, recreational fishers and commercial fishers are deeply concerned about the impacts of seismic testing on our marine life and local fisheries.

The committee heard an abundance of evidence detailing the risks to our oceans and fisheries from ongoing oil and gas exploration. No witness disputed that seismic testing is potentially harmful and under-researched.

While I would like to have seen the Senate report go further by providing stronger recommendations on Environment departmental oversight and regulatory processes, it did deliver some good recommendations for change and reform.

These include: 

  • significantly increasing research funding to study the full impacts of seismic testing and making oil and gas companies contribute to this research;
  • oil and gas companies should seek alternative technologies to intensive sonic air blasts;
  • making oil and gas companies pay compensation for any damages from their activities;
  • better consultation with more stakeholders; and
  • keeping seismic blasting away from marine parks and critical habitat for marine life.

This inquiry adds to the extensive body of science that seismic exploration negatively impacts fisheries and the marine environment. Seismic blasting involves sonar cannons firing loud explosions every 15 seconds. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Commercial fishers contend that the sound impacts current and future catch rates. It can kill scallops and tiny zooplankton more than a kilometre away. It can damage whales’ hearing and keep them away from key feeding and breeding grounds. It could even affect the immune system of lobsters. And there is evidence of its impact on some of our most important fisheries like whiting and flathead. 

Seismic exploration should not be permitted in areas important for our protected marine life and fisheries.

I urge you to adopt the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry, strengthen regulatory processes and provide Environment Minister and departmental oversight, and to implement a ban on seismic exploration from marine parks and areas important for our protected marine life and fisheries.

The Australian Government has just announced a massive expansion of oil and gas exploration sites, including right next to our Kimberley Marine Park and the beautiful Twelve Apostles. This puts our unique and diverse marine life at risk from deadly seismic blasting. A recent Senate Inquiry into the harmful practice recommended keeping seismic blasting away from our marine parks and critical habitats. Sign this petition calling on the government to follow the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry and stop seismic blasting in our precious marine parks.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

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