Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Whales Dance at James Price Point too

Over the weekend, 162 humpback whales were sighted off the Kimberley coast at James Price Point, the proposed location for the development of the massive LNG industry in Western Australia and is to escalate tensions.

An aerial survey last weekend by the Wilderness Society recorded the huge number of whales, including bulls and cows with their calves, in more than 100 separate pods off James Price Point.

The Point, a pristine wilderness 60 kilometres north of Broome, is a proposed site for a new LNG processing hub for Woodside's Browse Basin gas fields. The West Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, announced the site last December after an earlier location, North Head, was rejected partly because of its importance to the whales which travel between the Antarctic and the Kimberley coast.

Each year between July and November, thousands of humpbacks mate and give birth in the waters off the Kimberley. Until now, there has been a dispute over whether the waters off James Price Point were part of their route.

Richard Costin, who organised the survey for the Wilderness Society, said that based on recent research ''there is no doubt that the area around James Price Point is at least as significant for humpback whales as other sites that have been considered unsuitable for industrial development due to whale activity''.

"The whale population migrating up the WA coast is one of the great whale migrations on the planet ...... 220,000 whales do that trip each year," Mr Barnett said. "They go up and down the coast and we will ensure they are not in any way adversely impacted by the development onshore of an LNG precinct at James Price Point." more by Colin Barnett WA today

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