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Major concerns over application for seismic testing in Tasmania

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 31 Jan 2019

Healthy Oceans Spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has expressed major concern over an application lodged by 3D Oil overnight to conduct seismic testing in the Otway Basin, west of King Island.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, "Seismic testing poses an unacceptable risk to the health of our oceans and it’s shocking just how little research has been done on the impact that seismic testing has on our marine life and fisheries."

study conducted in 2018 by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies found that noise from seismic airguns used for marine oil and gas exploration significantly increases mortality in scallops.

"The little research that has been done suggests sufficient reason to press pause on this dangerous activity.

"Tasmanians don’t want risky seismic testing off their coastlines – the first step to big oil drilling rigs and production platforms. This opens up a whole new area for the oil and gas industry to get their grubby hands into."

Senator Whish-Wilson pushed for a Senate inquiry in November last year (motion available here) to look into the impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, specifically with reference to applications for testing in the Otway Basin. 

Both major parties voted against the inquiry.

"The Greens stood up for Tasmanian fishers and coastal communities to look into the impacts of seismic testing. But the major parties are in bed with the oil and gas industry and their donors and lobbyists got to them to shut this inquiry down.

"While we have widespread agreement amongst environmental groups and even the fishing industry that we need to understand the impact of seismic testing on our oceans, the major parties continue to join forces to prevent any scrutiny of their precious oil and gas industry.

"This should serve as a reminder to Australian voters at the next federal election that both major parties are not serious about our precious Australian environment and these big oil and gas donors call the shots in our parliament. Australians around the country are justifiably concerned about more seismic testing and want their elected members to stand up for what matters.

"Our oceans and marine wildlife, right now, are under extreme pressure from ocean warming, acidification, plastic, invasive species and industrial salmon farm expansion, that is unprecedented in our history. The last thing that our oceans and Tasmanian fishers need is to be stomped by big oil and gas turning up to look for their next fossil fuel bonanza."

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