Community group Save Our Coast (Stop Seismic Testing), based in Newcastle, is “cautiously optimistic” that the Senate Inquiry into seismic testing will put an end to the practice off Central Coast waters.
The Inquiry comes as 1,000sq kms of 3D seismic testing is being planned for the Central Coast and Newcastle under PEP 11 (a petroleum exploration permit).
Central Coast Save Our Coast Convenor, David Abrahams, said he was pleased the Inquiry had begun.
“Hopefully it will give the community a chance to express their concern for the effects of this destructive exploration,” he said.
Save Our Coast founder, Natasha Deen, said the devastating practice of intense and explosive underwater air gun blasts that fire every few seconds, 24 hours a day, for days, weeks or months on end was known to impact on the entire ecosystem.
“We congratulate Senator Whish-Wilson on successfully pushing for this Inquiry,” Deen said.
“Also, we thank the thousands of community members who have helped create momentum for this movement to stop seismic testing, those who have written letters, had conversations, and stood beside us and our allies at numerous events.
“We look forward to continuing to present the myriad of literature and anecdotal evidence that shows the impact that seismic testing has on the entire ecosystem.
“The fact is, oil and gas companies have been able to conduct this inhumane and destructive method of searching for oil and gas without pause for thought for marine animals and the fragile marine ecosystem, and this Inquiry is long overdue.”
Deen said academic research showed that seismic testing killed plankton 1.2km away, causing malformations in scallops, deafened sea creatures, had an impact on penguin colonies 100km away, killed fish for thousands of kilometres, caused stress to dolphins and whales and inhibited whale song.
“Fishermen around the world report loss of catch following seismic testing … and called it an assault to their livelihoods,” she said.
Save Our Coast has attracted 51,000 signatures on petitions to stop seismic testing, to be presented in parliament in November.
Media release, Sept 17
Save Our Coast (Stop Seismic Testing)