The coastline between Manly and Newcastle is under threat from proposed oil and gas extraction, and there are potentially harmful exploration methods that come with it.
Local Aboriginal elders, surfers, politicians and environmentalists between Manly and Newcastle are standing up for the ocean and marine life they love, as plans for potential offshore oil drilling and gas extraction threaten the coastline. Known as PEP 11 (Petroleum Exploration Permit 11) the area is a 4,500 square km zone that the Federal Government is pushing to open for exploration and extraction, despite opposition from local councils.
As part of the project, 3D seismic testing is being considered to scout out oil and gas reserves. This testing involves airgun blasts underwater every two to three seconds continuously for 24 hours, for days or weeks at a time.
The science behind the effects of seismic testing is limited, however it has been known to interfere with the communication and navigation of whales and dolphins, kill plankton up to 1.2km away, cause physiological damage to scallops as well as death and injury to fish, turtles and other marine life.
A senate inquiry has been established to investigate how seismic testing may impact marine life and fisheries, with particular focus on:
- the body of science and research into the use of seismic testing;
- the regulation of seismic testing in both Commonwealth and state waters;
- the approach taken to seismic testing internationally
The deadline for public comment on the inquiry has been extended to December 16th and the Senate hearing is expected to be held in May 2020.
Patagonia is helping the local communities fight back and have documented the fight for the coastline in their short film, South Fish.