Environment Minister refuses to protect our migratory whales in North West

Greens (WA) member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, is astounded that the Barnett government has not, and will not assess the impact of marine access points in the Exmouth Gulf on our migratory whale population.

‘The Minister for Environment has stated twice on the public record that he has not and will not carry out a strategic or cumulative impact assessment in the Gulf on the raft of marine access points on our migratory whale population,’ Mr Chapple said.

‘When I asked questions in Parliament, the Minister for Environment stated that no significant or strategic proposals have been recently referred to the Environmental Protection Authority to warrant a cumulative impact assessment,’ said Mr Chapple.

‘I am outraged that our Environment Minister has admitted to being aware of the studies carried out by the Centre for Whale Research here in WA but will still not assess the impact,’ Mr Chapple said.  ‘The studies show increased vessel traffic in humpback whale resting areas is likely to result in whale displacement near areas immediately associated with ships,’ Mr Chapple said.

‘Increased vessel traffic and increased noise levels have a serious impact on cow/calf pods by increasing their active behavior patterns in order to move far away from the stimulus. Cows, who will not feed until they reach the Antarctic, need to conserve their energy and calves need to use their energy for growth and blubber deposition to survive in the cold water further south.’ Mr Chapple explained.

‘If the Minister is serious about protecting our precious marine environment then I call upon him to assess the impact of marine access points, ports and Marinas in the Exmouth Gulf on the migratory whale population,’ stated Mr Chapple.

Contact: Robin Chapple 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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