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Industry Inquiry into Impact of Seismic Testing on Fisheries and the Marine Environment

In May 2020, the Government announced that public consultation was opened on potential areas for the 2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.

The annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release is part of the government’s strategy to promote offshore oil and gas exploration. Each year, the government invites companies to bid for the opportunity to invest in oil and gas exploration in Australian waters.

Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, said 49 areas have been nominated by the oil and gas industry offshore from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and the Territory of the Ashmore and Cartier Islands. However, these new areas will not receive government endorsement until submissions resulting from this consultation process can be considered.

Click here to see an overview map of areas for consultation.

Industry holds extreme concerns regarding the potential impact seismic surveys have on our fishery and WRL has recently made a submission in response to the Senate Inquiry into the effect of seismic testing on both fisheries and the marine environment.  

The purpose of this submission is to draw to the attention of authorities Western Rock Lobster views and concerns arising from the potential areas for the 2020 acreage release. In particular, these comments focus on the Southern Carnarvon Basin and Perth Basin-Offshore Western Australia (Geraldton Region) release areas W20-31, W20-30 and W20-29.

WRL continues to be concerned at the lack of detailed due diligence and research into the impacts of seismic airgun technology on the marine environment and fisheries in particular, and it is taking a firm stand on this practice as new research provides solid evidence of the harm seismic testing is likely to be causing to our industry.

WRL has noted that it is prepared to collaborate with the Petroleum Industry peak body (APPEA) or individual companies to jointly fund and participate in research projects to better understand the repercussions of seismic technology on all life stages of rock lobster, in particular, relevant to the sustainable management of the Western Rock Lobster industry.

WRL has also supported the submission lodged by the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC).

The submissions can be accessed by clicking links below:

WRL Submission

WAFIC Submission


More details around the Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release process can be found here.


Posted in Industry News