Pipe­line fish found in big num­bers

Pilbara News - - News - Shan­non Beat­tie

Ac­cord­ing to a study by The Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia, sub­sea oil and gas pipe­lines might not be as detri­men­tal to marine life as many be­lieve.

UWA re­searchers found BHP’s Grif­fin pipe­line, 30km south­west of Onslow, had more than dou­ble the com­mer­cial value of fish than sur­round­ing ar­eas in deep wa­ters.

It was found that the pipe­line, which ex­tends from the shal­lows to depths of greater than 140m, had 131 marine species recorded on it. In depths be­yond 80m, the pipe­line had two to three times the value of com­mer­cial fish species than sur­round­ing habi­tats, with fish species such as gold­band and sad­dle­tail snap­per recorded in high num­bers.

UWA lead au­thor Todd Bond said they saw a greater dif­fer­ence in the fish on and off the pipe­line in deeper wa­ter, where their nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring com­plex habi­tat be­came lim­ited.

“It is im­por­tant we un­der­stand the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween pipe­lines and lo­cal fish­eries to in­form fu­ture de­ci­sions around how they are man­aged,” he said.

“Hun­dreds of off­shore oil and gas fields in the Asia Pa­cific will reach the end of their pro­duc­tive life over the next decade.”

One of the species seen in the BHP Grif­fin pipe­line study.

Pic­ture: The Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia

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