Petition circulated to stop seismic testing

The Save Our Coast stand at the Umina Woytopia festival was popular.The Save Our Coast stand at the Umina Woytopia festival was popular.

A petition to stop three dimensional seismic testing for oil and gas off the Central Coast was presented to members of the public at the recent Woytopia festival at the Umina Markets by the Save Our Coast organisation.

Organisation members and local volunteers spoke to members of the Central Coast public throughout the day at Woytopia on Sunday, November 18, about the threat of seismic testing and planned oil or gas rigs off the coast. “Most people are not aware that seismic testing for oil or gas occurred 22km off Swansea earlier this year,” said Save Our Coast member Mr Gary Blaschke.

“There is now a proposal underway to conduct significantly more destructive seismic testing over 500 square kilometres of ocean from Umina to Newcastle in the search for oil or gas that could result in a line of gas rigs off our beaches,” he said. “The public are horrified to hear of these plans, and very pleased that we have alerted them and are doing something to raise awareness to try to stop this horrendous plan,” he said. “Seismic testing involves intense and explosive underwater airgun blasts, which detonate every few seconds for 24 hours continuously for days or weeks on end, in the search for oil or gas” according to Save Our Coast founder Dr Natasha Deen.

“Seismic blasts have been shown to harm marine life from killing plankton over 1km away and causing malformations in oysters, to harming and deafening fish, turtles, penguins, whales and dolphins,” Dr Deen said. “Fishermen from around the world report loss of catch, and seismic testing decimated the oyster industries in Tasmania and Victoria,” she said. The oil and gas exploration company claims it is currently under negotiation with the regulator to pass the environmental plans for this testing, to determine the best targets for an oil or gas field.

When located, the area is up for grabs from oil and gas companies, with two-thirds of Australia’s gas exported, with the potential of oil or gas rigs off our favourite beaches, according to Dr Deen. The petroleum exploration permit 11 stretches more than 4500 square km from the northern beaches of Sydney through to Newcastle. “Our coast has been opened up for petroleum oil and gas exploration and extraction and this has been imposed on the local community by the federal government without consultation.

“To expose our marine animals to this harm, and risk devastating our beautiful coastline, is unconscionable,” she said. “If we act together and speak up, we can make a difference. “We hope to protect our precious marine animals and save our coast. “You can sign and get more information on our website” Locals interested in learning more are invited to an information session and free screening of the award winning film Sonic Sea, about the symphony of ocean sound and the impact of noise on marine animals, at Soul Food Cafe, Woy Woy on Wednesday, December 12 from 5:45pm.

SOURCE: Media release, 28 Nov 2018 Natasha Deen, Save Our Coast

Link to Save Our Coast website here