Northern Beaches environmental group Living Ocean has seen a long-term research effort rewarded with the offer of a full partnership with several international universities investigating climate change.
Since 2004 Living Ocean research volunteers under government licence have put to sea tracking the humpback whales that migrate annually along our coast. A huge database has been amassed, drawing the attention of a consortium of Australian and South African universities modelling the effects of climate change on southern hemisphere humpback whales. These whales are known to have a significant impact on the health of our oceans.
Dr Olaf Meynecke, Research Fellow at Griffith University Research & Project Management Whales & Climate,said, ‘We are excited that Living Ocean joins our international research project on whales and climate. Their detailed, long term data will help with the development of models to forecast the consequences of climate change on humpback whales for the east coast of Australia. We are very much looking forward to our collaboration’.
Living Ocean’s research arm focuses on citizen science programs designed by universities and carried out by community volunteers. Bill Fulton, its head of research, recalled standing on a headland in 2003 watching whales pass by and wondering what influenced the paths they chose. “I knew this data would turn out to be useful, but never dreamt it would cast light on climate change, an existential threat to life on earth”, he said.
Robbi Newman, President, Living Ocean
+61 410 374 333
Dr Olaf Meynicke
Research Fellow, Griffith University
+61 423 115 503
22 March 2019 SEISMIC 3D TESTING IS PROPOSED IN THE PEP11 ZONE BETWEEN SYDNEY AND NEWCASTLE WITH THE OBJECT TO POTENTIALLY INDUSTRIALISE THE NEARBY COASTAL OCEAN FOR GAS AND/OR OIL. THIS WOULD RESULT IN MAJOR DYNAMIC CHANGE FOR THE AREA.
MEC Resources, owners of Asset Energy, is the company planning to conduct disruptive 3D seismic testing along the East Coast, across a 1,000 sq.km site off the Central Coast. (see map). Science-based evidence shows that ocean noise, such as sonar and seismic testing, has potentially wide ranging and devastating impacts on whales, dolphins and many as yet not studied forms of marine life.
To raise awareness in our community of the proposed testing and its potential impact with rigs, drilling and seabed mechanisation, Northern Beaches ocean based conservation group Living Oceanhas partnered with Newcastle group Save Our Coast.
Together they are hosting another screening of the award winning documentary Sonic Sea, followed by a discussion with a panel of subject matter experts to allow the public to learn more. To be screened at the Cremorne Orpheum on April 1st to coincide with the Federal election, so that voters can be aware of candidate’s stance on this issue. Offshore mining is a Federal issue.
Experts including economist Matt Koch from Morgan Stanley and Brendan Donahue from Surfrider Foundation plus politicians invited who decide to turn up and more, will be on hand to answer questions.
This will take place on Monday 1 April at 6.30 pm Cremorne Orpheum Cinema. Tickets are are limited and must be pre booked:
Living Ocean is an ocean based conservation group on Sydney’s Northern Beaches promoting awareness of human impact on the ocean through research, education and community action. The group develops and nurtures close and important partnerships with schools, marine scientists, independent corporations and government agencies.
Its whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off Sydney’s Northern Beaches by experts over many years and its Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved. Additionally, Living Ocean raises funds for other vital ocean conservation groups. Living Ocean successfully lobbied NOPSEMA to postpone initial 2D testing in 2017.
Save Our Coast is a Newcastle-based not-for-profit community, dedicated to protecting marine animals and the coastal ecosystem. They aim to educate, inspire and empower the community to revere and care for our coastal environment.
Living Ocean - Co-Founder & President Robbi Newman +61 0 410 374 333
Save Our Coast -Founder, Natasha Deen +61 0400 403 458
SAFE PASSAGE FOR HUMPBACK WHALES THANKS TO LIVING OCEAN’S GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH
Living Ocean announced today the successful outcome of its campaign to halt seismic testing this September in NSW coastal waters. Testing was scheduled during the peak time of the southern migration of the Humpback whales. This would have caused significant disruption and harm to the whales and their calves.
Perth based Gas company Asset Energy Pty Ltd, had applied to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to undertake the seismic testing. The area was to cover a total length of 208 kilometres, in waters 40 kilometres south of Newcastle NSW in September this year.
“This testing time and location would have been devastating had it gone ahead as our extensive research shows this is within the peak time (August-December) of the southern migration of the Humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae. The proposed location of the seismic survey is also directly in their path”, Living Ocean President Robbi Newman explained.
Living Ocean has been recording the migratory tracks of Humpback whales passing Sydney since 2003, and its research is licensed by State and Commonwealth agencies including an Ethics Committee. Living Ocean has been collecting its data though a ground-breaking app specifically designed by member Bill Fulton to safeguard the whales’ migratory route against sand mining, fish farms and seismic testing.
“Once we were notified of the seismic testing application, we were able to share our extensive scientific data with NOPSEMA, as well as carry out meaningful discussions with the gas company”, Mr Newman explained.
On completion of its assessment, NOPSEMA decided it was not reasonably satisfied that the environment plan meets the criteria … as set out in regulation 10A of the Environment Regulations” and provided an opportunity for Asset Energy to modify and resubmit.
“This is an enormous plus for the whales and the ocean environment. Asset Energy has taken this all on board and now plans to conduct its testing in the more suitable time frame of January/February 2018, when there are very few whales about,” Newman added.
Living Ocean is an ocean based conservation group on Sydney’s Northern Beaches promoting awareness of human impact on the ocean through research, education, and community action. The group develops and nurtures close and important partnerships with schools, marine scientists, independent corporations and government agencies.
Its whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off Sydney’s coastline by experts over many years and its Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved. Additionally Living Ocean raises funds for other vital ocean conservation groups such as Sea Shepherd.
Living Ocean is undergoing a major refocus this year, launching its website with information on upcoming research programs, how to get involved, donations for a new research vessel and ongoing campaigns.
Visit the Living Ocean team this Avalon Market Day, Sunday 19 November and become a member.