Sea Shepherd Australia is part of the Fight for the Bight Alliance, whose mission is to stop BP from drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
BP was responsible for the world’s biggest oil spill accident, the Deep-water Horizon tragedy in 2010, when 800 million litres of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. BP then used dispersant that made the spill 52 times more toxic to the ocean, marine life and people of the Gulf of Mexico. Six years on, industries, tourism and the environment have not recovered and millions of litres of oil sit on the ocean floor and dolphin mums are giving birth to stillborn calves.
Now, BP is seeking approval to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight in waters deeper, more remote and rougher than in the Gulf of Mexico. Given the recent oil spill this year by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, if BP is allowed to drill for oil in the Bight, we believe it’s not a question of if there is a spill, but when - a spill here would be impossible to clean up.
Why Operation Jeedara?
Bunna Lawrie is the Mirning (Indigenous) Elder and whalesong man of the Nullabor, Great Australian Bight. Bunna Lawrie speaks of the place in the poetry of a people who have lived at the edge of that frontier for maybe 50,000 years.
"I'm the whale song man from the Nullarbor on the Great Australian Bight, the Great Australian Bight is the greatest whale nursery on this planet. The whale story where I come from is my university, my school. It's the place where our beautiful Southern Right Whales come to calve their young, to teach their young to travel on the next journey. Whales like Sperm Whales, Blue Whales, Pygmy Blue Whales, Killer Whales, Humpback Whales – they travel down there to honour that great journey, that song, that story of the great white whale Jeedara that is there now." - Bunna Lawrie, Mirning Elder - whalesong man.
In honouring Bunna and the Mirning and the great white whale, with permission, we have named our campaign Operation Jeedara, Sea Shepherd's Bight defence campaign.
There is now irrefutable evidence that climate change is real. With the impacts of climate change being felt on the land and the sea, our planets ability to support life hangs by a thread. With the recent Paris Climate Summit agreement, in a bid to keep temperatures below a global 1.5 degrees celcius increase, we have to keep all remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Drilling for more climate altering oil is another nail in our planet’s coffin.
The Great Australian Bight
What is so special about the Great Australian Bight?
The Great Australian Bight is rich in beauty and biodiversity, boasting the world’s most significant Southern Right Whale nursery, as well as Humpback, Sperm, Blue and Beaked Whales. It is also Australia's most important sea lion nursery and supports orcas, great white sharks, southern blue fin tuna and other fish down to the small pelagic.
According to independent oil spill modelling released last year, an oil spill in the Bight from a deep-sea well blowout would be devastating for fisheries, tourism and marine life. The model shows that an oil spill could result in the closure of fisheries in the Bight, Bass Strait and even the Tasman Sea. Even a low-flow oil spill could impact all of southern Australia’s coast, from Western Australia right across to Victoria through Bass Strait and around Tasmania
The Great Australian Bight is one of the last intact wilderness areas left on the planet, and given the state of the world’s oceans; it is of global significance and deserves the outmost protection.