Updated: June 26, 2012
Independent study confirms whale nursery at James Price Point
A shore-based whale survey conducted near James Price Point in the Kimberley confirms that the area is a whale nursery.
The survey was undertaken to provide an independent scientific response to the lack of behavioural and shore-based whale studies carried out Woodside and the WA Government.
The results confirmed Commonwealth government reports which also identify the region as a whale nursery.
“Contrary to Woodside’s surveys, this study observed a large number of whale calves within 5km of James Price Point, highlighting the potential importance of the area as a whale nursery,” said Maddie Goddard - independent marine scientist, representing the Broome No gas Campaign.
Significant Findings & Recommendations:
- A large number of humpback whale cows with calves were sighted close to the coast throughout the duration of the survey, including the observation of three births. This contrasts to the Strategic Assessment Report (SAR) surveys which identified no whale calves within 5 km of the shoreline.
- There was a statistically significant reduction in the number of whales sighted when a Woodside drilling rig was present
- Further research in the absence of jack-up drill rigs is recommended to determine the baseline inshore abundance and behaviour of humpback whales and their calves. This research is critical to assessing whether significant physiological and behavioural impacts, further population fragmentation and potential long-term whale decline can be avoided in the face of proposed blasting, piling, dredging, shipping breakwater construction and sea dumping. As habitat degradation is deemed the single biggest threat to this species outside of the resumption of commercial whaling.
“This is another example of independent community science highlighting inadequacies in the environmental assessment for this proposed development. The Environmental Protection Authority must question the reliability of the strategic assessment report in making any decision about the suitability of this site for development,” said Jenita Enevoldsen, marine campaigner for the Wilderness Society.
Whale Research Volunteers Needed - If you are interested in volunteering for this years shore-based whale survey please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short statement about your skills, experience and availability.
Sign up as a cyberactivist and receive regular updates on the Wilderness Society campaigns.
Support our campaigns by making a tax deductible donation.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society WA Inc
City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi St
West Perth, WA, 6005
Phone: 08 9420 7255