VICTORIA: Apollo Bay’s Southern Rock Lobster Fishermen and local climate action group OCEAN have joined together to support this year’s Student Strike for Climate’s campaign for NO NEW GAS. Over one hundred cray pots were used to spell NO NEW GAS at the Port of Apollo Bay over the weekend.
“The weather forecast in Apollo Bay was not good for Friday 25th’s Student Strike so we brought it forward to ensure we could get the drone photography” says Lisa Deppeler of Otways Climate Emergency Action Network (OCEAN).
Local fishers and OCEAN are deeply concerned about the Federal Government’s push to expand gas exploration in the Otway Basin. Both see seismic testing, a method of sending sound shockwaves (250 decibels) deep below the ocean floor in search of gas and oil deposits, as government madness catastrophic for marine species. The fishers are particularly concerned about the impact seismic testing has on the Southern Rock Lobster. Markus Nolle, an Apollo Bay fisher, says, “Seismic testing has now been scientifically proven to destroy plankton (which includes the early life stages of lobsters); it also kills scallops and significantly and permanently damages lobsters. Why is the Government pursuing more gas exploration at a time when we should be transitioning away from fossil fuels? It’s recklessly damaging our sensitive marine environment and it just doesn’t make sense.”
“This issue is bringing OCEAN and the local fishers together; we are finding we have more in common than we thought!’ says Lisa Deppeler “OCEAN respects and supports our local crayfish industry which is recognised as one of the most sustainable fishing industries in the world. Our fishers willingly abide by a myriad of stringent regulations to ensure the sustainability of their industry, while (gas and oil) survey ships can come through and wipe out fishing grounds with seismic blasting. The grounds can take years to recover. The blasting also disrupts marine mammal behaviour including whale migrations. Other events show the species that can’t move away from the blasts, such as crayfish and scallops, are being completely wiped out in some areas”. OCEAN members are cautiously optimistic about the NO NEW GAS campaign. “At last Australia is united and in agreement. Climate scientists, campaigners and economists all agree that a gas led recovery just doesn’t stack up on any level. For our government to spruik gas as a low emission, transition fuel shows they are completely out of touch.”