Sea Shepherd Joins Fight In Protecting Little Penguins In Western Australia

Monday, 29 Jan, 2018

Sea Shepherd Australia has proudly joined forces with the Conservation Council of Western Australia and other local community groups in an effort to protect Western Australia’s only colony of Little Penguins and other marine life from a planned marina, man-made canal, and housing developments at Point Peron. 

The vulnerable Little Penguins rely on the seagrass meadows in Mangles Bay at Point Peron for feeding as they raise their chicks every year on Penguin Island. Scientists have recorded that there are fewer than 700 breeding pairs left.

The State Government’s Planning Minister Rita Saffioti is right now considering a proposal that if approved would spell disaster for the Little Penguins.

Sea Shepherd Australia’s Managing Director, Jeff Hansen who resides in Perth, stated: “27 scientists and experts have warned that the Little Penguins would suffer starvation and habitat loss and could be killed by boat propellers as a result of the canal and marina.

“Dredging their feeding grounds to make way for a canal, marina and housing development would be a disaster for WA’s only Little Penguin colony. WA’s billion dollar tourism industry would also feel the impacts,” Jeff continued.

“The WA Government should look to preserving this area and establish the Cape Peron Coastal Park instead,” Jeff added.

Sea Shepherd and CCWA are asking supporters to  contact Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to stop these planned developments from going ahead at Point Peron:

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said: “Canal Developments have been plagued with problems wherever they have been tried here in Western Australia. Canals have major impacts on water quality and the health of the marine environment through reduced flushing, dredging, increased boat traffic and other issues.

“The Mangles Bay area in the South of Cockburn Sound is the wrong place for a canal-marina. This area is a critical fish nursery and feeding ground for Little Penguins and it would have far-reaching impacts if it were to go ahead,” Mr Verstegen added. 

“87% of submissions to the WA Planning Commission were against the Canal-Marina development showing it also lacks support from the local community around Rockingham,” Piers said.

Mr Hansen said: “The WA Government has shown a healthy approach to marine issues with the most progressive shark mitigation strategy in the country.

“Sea Shepherd is once again asking WA Labor to represent the people of WA, the Little Penguins, and our children, that not only love the penguins, also rely on a healthy marine environment, now and into the future,” Jeff said.

A study in 2011 on WA seagrasses found that endangered marine creatures that feed along parts of the WA coast could be at further risk and that, globally, the biggest threat to seagrasses is coastal development, with degraded water quality and the mechanical damage from dredging and port, industrial and urban growth on the coast are other major factors.

"This project has no social license, is a huge economic risk to many other sectors, and will cause catastrophic environmental damage to one of Western Australia’s most beautiful places loved by people far and wide,” Jeff concluded.

Additional Information: 

Billion Dollar Tourism Report:

Sea Grass Study:

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