The proposal for a massive seismic survey in Bass Strait, which was causing significant concern to the Lakes Entrance offshore fishing fleet, has been refused by the Federal approval agency.
Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull welcomed the news, having spoken on this issue in State Parliament and made representations to the Commonwealth regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).
“In line with the concerns I raised, NOPSEMA ruled it was ‘not reasonably satisfied’ with the proposal,” Mr Bull said.
South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association chief executive officer, Simon Boag, said the industry was pleased NOPSEMA had made this decision “because we were concerned about the size, duration and intensity of the proposed survey”.
“This area is the fishing grounds for the main supply of fish for the Melbourne and Sydney fish markets and we thank Tim for taking a leading role in this,” Mr Boag said.
In its decision notification, NOPSEMA stated: “On completion of assessment, NOPSEMA has decided that it is not reasonably satisfied that the environment plan meets the criteria below as set out in regulation 10A of the Environment Regulations:
(a) is appropriate for the nature and scale of the activity
(b) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable
(g) demonstrates that:
(i) the titleholder has carried out the consultations required by Division 2.2A
(ii) the measures (if any) that the titleholder has adopted, or proposes to adopt, because of the consultations are appropriate.”
Mr Bull said CGG may resubmit a new proposal, but hoped it had got the message it needed to consult better.
“The initial proposal was the equivalent to eight times the size of Port Phillip Bay, at around 17,000 square kilometres - the largest to be undertaken in Australia,” he said.
“Under this proposal, the industry was being asked to leave fishing grounds for five months and then accept lowered catch rates for a year or more following the survey.
“Some fisheries such as the Danish seine fishery would have had all their grounds affected.”
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull is pleased a proposal for a seismic survey in Bass Strait has been refused.
Monday, October 15, 2018