Wednesday, June 27, 2012

James Price Point a nursery for Humpback whales: Independent study

Humpback whales were observed giving birth in the coastal corridor off James Price Point, where Woodside is proposing to build a gas industrial complex, an independent land-based whale survey has found.

“The survey was undertaken in response to the strategic assessment report for James Price Point that lacked a land-based whale survey and an assessment of behavioral data,” said Jenita Enevoldsen from The Wilderness Society.

“Contrary to the strategic assessment report, the independent study observed a large number of whale calves within 5km of James Price Point, highlighting the potential importance of the area as a whale nursery,” said Maddie Goddard - independent marine scientist, representing the Broome No gas Campaign.

“We also observed a significant reduction in the number of whale sightings when operational drilling rigs were present at James Price Point. These findings raise serious questions about the potential impacts of the proposed construction of a port precinct, especially the blasting and dredging. Habitat degradation¹ is known as the single biggest threat to this species outside of the resumption of commercial whaling”.

“This is another example of independent community science highlighting inadequacies in the environmental assessment for this proposed development. The Environmental Protection Authority must question the reliability of the strategic assessment report in making any decision about the suitability of this site for development,” said Jenita Enevoldsen, marine campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

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