Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Delving into the Deep

This week Hands Off Country will focus on the Marine Environment and we aim to bring you the most com pelling scientific evidence to date that proves without a doubt that North Head should not be the site for the Gas Hub and that the Kimberley in general is absolutely no place for industrialisation.
Below is the most up to date scientific study and research on Humpback Whales conducted in the North Head/Pender Bay region.The three year study's outcomes are very clear and highlight the fact that a Gas Processing Facility would directly impact on the recovering Humpback Whale population which is of international significance.This Whale Nursery and Socialisation Area is one of the most important left on the planet and Hands Off Country calls on the State and Federal Governments to immediately protect these areas.
This study has international significance and Hands Off Country would like to sincerely thank Two Moons Whale and Marine Research Base initiated and run by Goojarr Goonyool Aboriginal Corporation and the researchers and authors,Shannon McKay and Dr Deborah Thiele for allowing us to use this.Please note that the data in this submission is not to be cited without the authors consent.As such you will find the submission in full below.Just click on each page to view in full size.Pages 1-16 run in order down the page.

Humpback Whales

Humpback whale is a moderately large baleen whale, reaching lengths of up to 17.4 metres and a maximum
weight of 45 tonnes. Hunted extensively throughout the 19th and 20th centuries (until a moratorium was implemented
in 1963), a staggering 95% of the Humpback p
opulation was slaughtered for human use.
Along the west coast of Australia, records show that at least
19,557 humpback whales were killed between 1911 and 1963,
in addition to 8,302 tak
en by east coast whaling stations.
The rema
ining populations numbered less than 600 in the
west coast, and 100-500 along eastern migratory pathways.

As the species struggles to recover from such decimation,
its survival continues to be threatened by degraded habitat
and disrupted calving areas. Attempts to manage human
impact on the Humpback Whale are limited by a general lack
of kn
owledge of their habitat requirements along migratory
Figures taken from the Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage website,, 19/06/07

Here are a few samples that can be used in the protection of the humpback whale. these are all recorded within 4 miles of north head
Attached is footage of a young calf. This unfortunate baby humpback was unlikely to see another dawn break!
Tiger Sharks take only a few ,There are many such baby humpback whales that will be displaced by the noise and vessel traffic of a GAS Refinery at North Head!. this displacement could very well lead to a higher mortality rate as the mothers and calves attempt to cope with what would be the human equivalent of evicting mothers and children into the unknown !. this area is a Humpback Whale Nursery in a recovering population that was almost wiped out by whaling less than one human generation ago.
If the Australian population were concerned about the fate of the baby humpback whale named Colin or (Collette) then they ought to be informed about the proposed gas refinery and the possible fate awaiting the many returning pregnant mothers that once again during our winter, will be seeking shelter in what they believed were ANTI Whaling friendly Australian Waters .
N.D.T.F Scientific advise on Humpback Whales
The Northern Development Task Force informed the indigenous community at the meeting at Middle Lagoon that their scientific advise was, "that a refinery at North Head was non preferred but manageable" ???
I would say as far as a humpback whale was concerned, The gas refinery can only "manage" to reduce their groups available "socialising, calving and resting areas"
(3 years of base line data and We never received a visit by the N.D.T.F ???)
What Example will we be setting
Australians cannot knowingly accept their actions against these mothers and calves .this would be contrary to the Australian international stance against Japan and the fact t hat Japan have agreed "for now" NOT to HARM or Kill Humpback Whales
A Response to the Proposed Gas Refinery
All of us Here at The Two Moons Whale And Marine Research Base Are awaiting the pr ocesses of Government . They now have 3 years of Humpback Whale, Base line data Via the authors in the form of the public submission . . these three years of survey are adjacent to north head.
We would expect that informed decision makers would not announce a gas refinery at North Head and instead announce the North Head area and Surrounds as a Humpback Whale Sanctuary .
Thanks must go out to Shannon McKay and Deb Thiele for their devotion to preserving and aiding the humpback whale
("my apologies to the male humpback whales for not mentioning you blokes as often")
(these images and audio are not for commercial use or gain without the strict consent of Two Moons Whale And Marine Research Base.)
Yours Sincerely
Andrew.J. Bowles
Chairperson Goojarr Goonyool Aboriginal Corporation
PO Box 1754 Broome WA 6725
Ph- 0891924616 Mob- 042813814



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