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Sea Shepherd calls on political parties to protect the Bight

Monday, Mar 05, 2018

Sea Shepherd and The Wilderness Society calls on all South Australian political parties to protect the Great Australian Bight as the M/Y Steve Irwin ship arrives into Port Adelaide ahead of state election.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel the M/Y Steve Irwin has arrived back into Port Adelaide for the first time since its expedition to the Bight back in 2016, titled Operation Jeedara.

“With the South Australian state election on March 17, we are encouraging people to vote for parties that put the Bight first, that put our children first, that put the communities and industries that rely on the Bight remaining pristine and clean first, and not voting for political parties that represent oil companies. After all, a healthy Great Australian Bight supports over 10,000 jobs worth in excess of $2 billion dollars to the South Australian economy," Jeff Hansen, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia, said. 

“Back in 2016, our expedition Operation Jeedara showcased the beauty and grandness of the Bight, a place that is globally rare and unique. The Bight hosts minke, fin, humpback, sperm and blue whales and its also home to one of the worlds most significant southern right whale nurseries. What we found in the Bight was nothing short of remarkable, a place worthy of the utmost protection and no place for an oil field," Mr Hansen added. 

“Since Sea Shepherd’s expedition in 2016, both BP and Chevron have pulled out of putting this incredible marine wilderness area at risk, however, other 'Big Oil' companies remain like Statoil and Santos," he said. 

“Come March 19, we will set sail once more into one of the worlds most precious gifts, the Great Australian Bight. This time Sea Shepherd will take our supporters on a journey beneath the waves, to showcase the incredible biodiversity in the sanctuary zones of Pearson, Top Gallant, Ward and Flinders Islands. We'll highlight why marine sanctuaries are vital and reiterate that the Bight is too precious to risk at the hands of big oil - for an oil spill in the Bight would be impossible to clean up and could devastate most of Southern Australia’s coastline and offshore islands like tourism icon, Kangaroo Island," Mr Hansen concluded. 

"Despite huge community opposition and an unprecedented six councils passing resolutions raising serious concern with the catastrophic risks associated with deep sea drilling in the Bight, only the Greens and SA-BEST have committed to oppose it to date. South Australia does not support this, there is no social license. We call on all political parties to do the right thing - oppose oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight and ensure this remarkable marine wilderness is given the protection it deserves," Peter Owen, Director, The Wilderness Society South Australia, said. 

"Actively pushing to expand the fossil fuel industry at this point in history is the height of irresponsibility and not an option if we are to have any chance of providing our children with a liveable climate," Mr Owen said. 

The M/Y Steve Irwin will remain in port until March 19 and is inviting the public down on March 10, 11, 12 & 17 from 11AM to 4PM for free public tours at Mclaren Wharf. 

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