Opponents of seismic blasting and the search for gas off our coast are using the busy tourist season to spread their message.
Hundreds of people opposed to a mass expansion of fossil fuel mining in the Southern Ocean rallied through Ocean Grove on Saturday.
It’s the first of a series of coordinated anti-fossil fuel protests planned over the summer holiday, with actions scheduled from Barwon Heads through Torquay and Apollo Bay to Portland.
They’re being organised by the Otway Coast Environment Action Network (OCEAN), and include screenings of the Southern Blast film produced by the Surfrider Foundation, which documents the pristine ocean that’s subject to a plan to seismic blast 5.5 million hectare of ocean to 3D map the floor and find fossil fuel deposits.
“People don’t know about seismic blasting and when we do tell them they’re generally pretty horrified,” OCEAN organiser Lisa Deppler said.
OCEAN and other organisations such as Surfrider, alongside all four councils between the Surf Coast and Warrnambool, have expressed concern about the impacts on marine life from seismic blasting.
“We’ll be telling them about the impacts that it is having on our ocean and on our marine life,” Ms Deppler says of the demonstrations.
A beach rally is planned for Warrnambool later in the month, and will feature a paddle out along with speakers and screening of Southern Blast.
The mass seismic blast plan for the Southern Ocean is one of the largest ever proposed, certainly for the region, and is being led by fossil fuel multi-nationals TGS and Schlumberger. The proposal is currently before the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), that rarely knocks back such projects.