Are no Australian areas safe from Oil and Gas Exploration?

Kangaroo Island’s Water Are Now A Target Of Bight Petroleum
Monday, 15 October, 2012

Kangaroo Island’s Waters Are Now A Target Of Bight Petroleum

IFAW is deeply concerned by today’s application from Bight Petroleum Pty Ltd (an Australian subsidiary of Canadian Bight Petroleum Corp), to conduct deafening seismic surveys in waters off Kangaroo Island. This is an area renowned for many species of marine life and essential for endangered blue whale feeding.

According to Matthew Collis, Campaigner at IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare –, “It’s a sad day, the oil industry has turned its sights to one of Australia’s natural wonders – Kangaroo Island, nestled just off Cape Jervis.  With pristine beaches and an abundance of marine wildlife, Kangaroo Island is beyond compare.  Until now, this area, that was once a peaceful feeding ground for some of the world’s most endangered whales, is now about to be blasted with deafening levels of noise in Bight Petroleum’s search for more profit.”

“If you believe that there are some areas that are just too special to be given up to oil and gas exploitation, we strongly urge you to register your concerns with the Environment Minister, Tony Burke.  We’ve made it easy, simply visit, and make your voice heard.”

The waters off Kangaroo Island support many whale and dolphin species and are one of only three recognised feeding areas in Australia for endangered blue whales.  Yet, the Australian Government is being asked to approve blast testing in an area off the coast of Kangaroo Island that covers more than 3,000 sq km.

According to Mr Collis, “Despite the government handing out the lease for this area to Bight 15 months ago this is the first opportunity for Australians to formally comment on the proposed activity.   There has been no announcement that the period for public comment has begun – you need a keen eye to spot the notification on the government website.   But if you want your voice heard, you’ll have to be quick, as the public are only given ten working days to make their views known.  Your views must be received by Monday 29 October 2012.”

While IFAW accepts that the oil and gas industry is a reality in Australia for now, the future of the blue whales and other marine creatures that come to feed in Kangaroo Island’s waters are just too important to risk.  Mr Collis, concludes “How many whales is a barrel of oil worth?  Whales have been hunted almost to extinction for their oil, now the oil and gas industry is threatening their future.”

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in distress all over the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW provides hands-on assistance to animals in need, works to prevent animal cruelty, and advocates protecting wildlife and their habitats. For more information: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation