Sea Shepherd sets sail to the Great Australian Bight

The Great Australia Bight is home to the blue humpback whale. (Photo – ABC Open: Anne Powell)

There are beautiful places worth saving. The Sea Shepherd had set sail for the Great Australian Bight for the first time in August 2016 and the ocean conservation group found places like Nuyts Reef, Isles of St Francis, the Bunda Cliffs, the Head of Bight and the Pearson Islands.

The group said it discovered one of the world’s best kept secrets –  rich in biodiversity. The Bight is home to Blue, Minke, Fin and Humpback whales, and is one of the planet’s most significant Southern Right whale nurseries, Sea Shepherd Australia’s Managing Director Jeff Hansen said.

 

Many fish species like the critically-endangered Southern Blue Fin tuna, Great White shark, Mako shark, seals, dolphins and penguins are in abundance in the Bight. It is truly alive; a place that is rare, unique and globally significant, with many of the off-shore islands on par with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Galapagos Islands.

 

Sea Shepherd had launched Operation Jeedara that showcased a truly remarkable place – one of Mother Nature’s greatest and grandest shows on Earth. The operation sent BP and Chevron to pull out of their oil drilling activities from the Bight.

Southern bluefin tuna circling inside a transport net. (Photo: Greenpeace/AAP)

 Sea Shepherd’s M/Y Steve Irwin is again aiming to set sail to the Bight with its international crews in March this year, but it needs funds to complete an engine overhaul.

 

Hansen said the crew will take cameras below the waves to reveal more secrets from this natural wonderland. “We’ll explore and document the incredible wilderness that lies protected by the boundaries of the Pearson Islands Sanctuary Zone, the Nuyts Archipelago, and the Bunda Cliffs Sanctuary Zone,” he added.

The bight is also a home to seals. (Photo: Australia.com)

At the completion of the Bight expedition, the M/Y Steve Irwin and crew will set their sights on the Adani coal mine on Operation Reef Defence.

 

“From everyone here at Sea Shepherd, thank-you for your help to get our flagship, the M/Y Steve Irwin back on the water.  We have some way to go but with your continued support we will be on our way to the Great Australian Bight,” Jeff said.
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Greenies win for the world’s largest marine sanctuary

It does not happen quite often for the greenies to celebrate. But today, there is reason for euphoria and optimism as the Federal Government breaks the news of making Australia’s vast stretch of seas and oceans as a national reserve.

The whale shark, white shark, humpback whale, and other world’s largest fish inhabit the North-west and South-east regions. (Photo: Supplied)

Environment Minister Tony Burke said more than 2.3 million square kilometres of ocean environment will be declared as a national marine reserve networks– a historic win since the plan was incubated a decade ago. This plan will position Australian waters to be the world’s largest marine sanctuary.

Minister Burke will soon forward his recommendations to the Governor General. He said “Australia is a world leader when it comes to protecting our oceans, and so we should be, we’ve got responsibility for more of the ocean than almost any other country on Earth.”

The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), a leading environmental advocacy group, likewise, said people’s power made this development possible with 450,000 made submissions to Minister Burke.

Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs in the Temperate East Network are home to the critically endangered east coast population of grey nurse shark and the vulnerable white shark. (Photo: Australian Government)

“We look forward to the Government bedding down final management arrangements for the new marine parks as soon as possible, so that all Australians can begin to enjoy the benefits that marine protection will deliver now and into the future,” WFF Marine Campaigner Jenita Enevoldsen said.

A June poll showed that 70 per cent of Australians supported the government’s marine reserves plan ‑ the most decision the government has made. This project started in early 2000’s under a series of comprehensive community consultations, deliberations and science-based region planning.

“These final lines on maps around our sea country cover and protect a wide range of important habitats including coral reefs, seagrass beds, sponge gardens and hundreds of threatened species of whales, sharks, dolphins, turtles, sea lions and sea dragons,” Enevoldsen said.

Giant Green Turtle in the Coral Sea on Queensland. (Photo: Supplied)

Giant Green Turtle in the Coral Sea on Queensland. (Photo: Supplied)

Australia’s oceans is the home to many of the world’s endangered marine animals including the Green Turtle, the Blue Whale, the Southern Right Whale, the Australian Sea Lion and the whale shark.

While it is a big win for conservationists, the marine sanctuary means commerical and industrial activities around the area will be limited, including recreation, commercial fishing, and gas exploration ventures.

However, the Government recognises that there will be impacts on some fishers and it will support those who are affected

A national marine reserve will include the vast stretch of the continent. (Photo: Australian Government)

New marine reserves have been proclaimed in five of Australia’s six large marine regions. The reserves in the South-east region were proclaimed in 2007.

Blog Link: Asian Correspondent