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New Margaret River Oil Threat Prompts Rally for Sanctuaries.
This weekend (Sat May 8th) the Conservation Council of WA and Surfrider WA will be staging a rally against IMMINENT OIL EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OFF THE MARGARET RIVER COASTLINE.
We are hoping you are interested in plugging this event on the WA report pages of your site? The Federal government will soon sell off an area northwest (from about 85kms offshore) of the Southwest Capes (the area from Yallingup to Augusta) to interested oil & gas companies.
An oil spill there, similar to the one the occurred in the northwest of WA recently (Montara), or the one that is currently devastating the Gulf Coast of the USA, threatens the iconic surfing region as well as the entire coastline from Augusta northwards to Perth.
The same area is also currently being considered for conservation protection. A recent deepwater exploration of the same area found 33% (more than 500) species that were new to science. We are saying we want conservation, not exploitation for this iconic region.
The Margaret River region is worth more for its surfing, its clean environment and its tourism than it can ever be for its oil! Rally details:
12pm Reuther Park Margaret River
Sat May 8
With local speakers and musicians.
Recently revealed plans to open up a massive new oil lease offshore from Margaret River have prompted the Surfrider Foundation and Conservation Council of WA to join forces with local SW groups in a call for large marine sanctuaries in WA's southwest.
The Save Our Marine Life Rally will be held at 12pm, Saturday 8th May, in Reuther Park, Margaret River and feature expert speakers and performances from local musicians.
The rally comes as plans for new offshore oil development highlight the growing threat to the Southwest's unique marine environment; Resources Minister Martin Ferguson plans to release a new oil lease at a petroleum industry conference on the 16th May. The new lease would be just 83kms offshore from Margaret River and in an area designated for assessment for future marine sanctuaries.
Drew McKenzie from Surfrider Foundation Margaret River said, "This new oil lease in an area of proposed marine parks has woken up the Southwest community. We realize that we can no longer take a healthy ocean for granted. It is clear we need marine sanctuaries to protect our marine environment and clean beach and surf lifestyle."
"We want marine parks, and also our politicians to more thoroughly explore alternative energy sources."
Conservation Council of WA spokesperson Tim Nicol said, "Recent massive spills in northwest WA and now in Louisiana have highlighted the very real threat posed by oil exploration. If a spill the size of the recent Montara oil spill off Northwest WA had happened in the Southwest, there would be oil on the beaches from Perth to Margaret River."
"Up to 90% of marine life in the Southwest is unique, and half the world's whale species use the region. Before we roll in the seismic ships and oil drilling rigs, we need marine sanctuaries."
The strong science case for marine sanctuaries has been bolstered with recent high profile reports highlighting the need for more marine sanctuaries in WA1 and the benefits of existing marine sanctuaries on the Great Barrier Reef2, including a doubling in the abundance of reef fish within only two years of establishing marine sanctuaries.
A recent report by the Allen Consulting Group also found that there would be long term sustained economic benefits for the Southwest economy from a network of marine sanctuaries3.
Conservation Council is a part of the Save Our Marine Life Alliance who last Friday launched an email campaign against the new oil lease, clck on link below to email the federal resources minister Martin Ferguson
1. Report on the Scientific Basis for and the Role of Marine Sanctuaries in Marine Planning: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/category/40/952/2323/
2. McCook LJ et al. (2010) Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: A globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves, Published in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0909335107
3The Economics of Marine Protected Areas, Application of Principles to the Southwest Area, Allen Consulting Group, http://www.allenconsult.com.au/