Updated: August 31, 2009
Kimberley whale survey shows highest numbers near proposed LNG hub
An aerial whale survey off the Kimberley coast has recorded a high number of Humpback Whales in the vicinity of James Price Point - the site proposed for a massive industrial LNG gas processing facility.
The whale survey conducted on the weekend (29/30 August) with the assistance of the Wilderness Society and Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures recorded a staggering 162 Humpback whales in 102 separate pods between Gourdon Bay in the south to the Lacepede Islands in the north, with the highest concentration recorded in the vicinity of the proposed industrial site at James Price Point.
Josh Coates, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society said “We are pleased to have supported this important survey, which highlights the need for the whole Kimberley coastline to be protected from the impacts of incompatible industrial development.”
“We are inviting Prime Minister Rudd to take part in a similar whale survey in the James Price Point area while he is in Western Australia so that he can see for himself the incredible abundance of humpback whales and other marine life in this area.”
The Wilderness Society and other environment groups are calling on the State and Commonwealth Governments to immediately place a moratorium on oil and gas development on the Kimberley coast, and instead establish large marine sanctuary zones, with the consent of the Traditional Owners, to protect the globally significant marine biodiversity in this region, including Humpback whales in the vicinity of James Price Point.
Local whale expert and organiser of the survey Mr. Richard Costin said “What we have seen in this single survey is just a snapshot of the number of whales that aggregate in this area to feed and give birth.”
WA Premier Colin Barnett originally favoured North Head, a site further north on the Dampier peninsula, as the preferred site for LNG processing, however this site was abandoned to avoid the high whale populations in the area.
Mr Costin said “Based on our recent research, there is no doubt that the area around James Price Point is at least as significant for humpback whales as other sites that have been considered unsuitable for industrial development due to whale activity.” He added.
“This whole region is important for these amazing creatures which would be severely impacted if the proposed LNG plant goes ahead on the Kimberley coast.”
The survey indicated the world class marine biodiversity in the Kimberley, with Humpback whales, dolphins, dugong, sea turtles and sharks sighted from the survey plane, all in the vicinity of James Price Point.
These amazing and unique creatures are internationally significant and yet less than 1% of the Kimberley’s waters are protected in marine sanctuaries.
The Wilderness Society will be following up this important aerial survey work with our members and friends 6 day, boat based, Kimberley whale survey, departing Sunday the 6th of September.
1. Join the Hands Up supporter list and map. By registering your support you will send a clear message to State and Commonwealth Government and multi-national fossil fuel companies such as Woodside, Shell, Chevron BHP and BP that the Kimberley is not for sale! Click here to register and view the map.
2. Contact Prime Minister Rudd, Environment Minister Garrett and Resources Minister Fergusson and let them know that the Kimberley’s marine wonderland must be protected and expansion of the oil and gas industry in the region must be put on hold until marine planning processes are completed. Download an open letter sent by The Wilderness Society to inspire you and get you started here. And, for further inspiration, read a letter sent to Mr Garret by Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society President regarding Kimberley protection here.
Aerial survey reveals whales near proposed Kimberley gas site
Perth Now - 1 September 2009
AN aerial survey has revealed hundreds of humpback whales off the Kimberley coast amassing near the site proposed for a massive industrial gas hub. A staggering 162 humpback whales in 102 separate pods were recorded off the Kimberley coast over the weekend in an aerial survey conducted by The Wilderness Society. More >>
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