Updated: November 13, 2012
The Rowley Shoals should be protected, not drilled
Woodside’s plans to drill for oil and gas around the Rowley Shoals off the Kimberley coast should be knocked back by the Federal government on the basis that these reefs are of international significance due to their near pristine character, diverse fauna and geomorphological features.
“The Rowley Shoals are listed on the IUCN list of coral reefs of international significance and are considered the best examples of shelf-edge oceanic reefs in Australian waters. The reefs boast more than 680 species of fish as well as rich diversity of 233 coral species”, said Jenita Enevoldsen, Marine Campaigner for the Wilderness Society in Perth.
“The Rowley Shoals region has also been included in the federal government’s latest plans for marine parks in Commonwealth waters, and these latest drilling plans are being pushed through before marine protection is in place.
“Under the Commonwealth’s plans, the area proposed by Woodside for drilling is earmarked for a marine reserve and is mere kilometres from Mermaid Reef Sanctuary (established in 1991) which is categorised by the IUCN as a ‘strict nature reserve’.
“Our Federal government must recognise the risk that this poses to our internationally significant marine biodiversity. The June announcement to establish national marine reserves was supported by over 70% of Australians. Our Federal government needs to urgently establish these marine reserves and prevent oil and gas companies from drilling so close to our biodiversity hot spots. Even with so-called world’s best practice, the risk just isn’t worth it.”
“A precedent needs to be set – it’s time for our federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to step up and protect our best marine tourism assets – Ningaloo and the Rowley Shoals.”
Further comment: Jenita Enevoldsen 0405 941 500
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