Blast­ing win for tuna in­dus­try

The West Australian - - NEWS -

The tuna in­dus­try is cel­e­brat­ing a win over planned seis­mic test­ing for oil in the Great Aus­tralian Bight dur­ing the species’ au­tumn ju­ve­nile mi­gra­tion.

Test­ing com­pany PGS has aban­doned plans to test in an area off Kan­ga­roo Is­land in March and will now move its ac­tiv­i­ties to Septem­ber next year.

But the de­ci­sion to fo­cus on Septem­ber ac­tiv­i­ties has pit­ted PGS against the en­vi­ron­men­tal lobby be­cause this is when south right whales will be calv­ing in the re­gion.

“There is no safe time to un­der­take seis­mic blast­ing,” Greens Sen­a­tor for South Aus­tralia Sarah Han­sonYoung said.

Aus­tralian South­ern Bluefin Tuna In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Jef­friess said nei­ther March nor Septem­ber were ideal but the in­dus­try had lob­bied against March be­cause of the mi­gra­tion pe­riod for ju­ve­nile tuna.

He said the PGS plan was close to the cen­tre of the fish­ery.

“We have made a per­sua­sive, ev­i­dence-based case about March test­ing,” he said.

“Septem­ber is still a ma­jor prob­lem for other species and other ac­tiv­i­ties and this is a very ma­jor sur­vey.“

Aus­tralian Petroleum Pro­duc­tion and Ex­plo­ration As­so­ci­a­tion spokesman Matthew Do­man said seis­mic test­ing had been used for decades in Aus­tralian wa­ters, with no ev­i­dence of harm. Miles Kemp

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