Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Hunter fishermen fear seismic testing will hurt industry

BY JARROD MELMETH

Local fishermen fear a lot of dead fish will be the fallout of seismic testing being conducted off the coast of Newcastle.

In January, Asset Energy was given the tick of approval by the Commonwealth regulator to blast the ocean floor about 30km off the coast. 

Newcastle Commercial Fishermen's Co-operative general manager Robert Gauta said the impacts to marine life have been proven by past testing.

"When they did this last time in 2010, we found that the ground that they tested was devastated, so the fish either moved away or the ones that were there died and some of the smell that came up with the nets was from the decomposing flesh," Mr Gauta said.

Meanwhile, world-famous sand sculptor Dennis Massoud will join the third protest in a month on Tuesday where he will construct sand-sculptured dolphins on Nobbys Beach as a symbolic gesture of the potential effects of seismic testing to marine life.

Event organiser Liss Finney said the group is trying to build as much momentum as they can before the next stages of testing begin.

"For Asset, this is just phase one with 2D testing. The next step for them is 3D testing which, is actually much more destructive and affects a greater area and then from then on, that is when the licencing for the oil and petroleum exploration happen," Ms Finney said.
 
Demonstrators at last Saturday's protest. Photo: The Newcastle Herald.

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