The Exmouth Gulf borders the world famous Ningaloo Marine Park, the longest fringing coral reef in the world and a critical habitat for whale sharks and migrating humpback whales.
Over the last decade oil exploration and production in Federal waters has slowly been encroaching on the ocean side of the reef. Now, despite the devastation of recent massive oil spills in both Australia and the US, the state Government has just released a new drilling permit in the Exmouth Gulf to the East of the reef.
The Shire of Exmouth has distributed this information sheet on the new permit that includes maps. Info Sheet Exmouth Gulf Exploration FINAL 2
The Gulf is a critical stopover point for humpack whales migrating south with their newborn calves, habitat for endangered dugong and turtles, and is an important nursery area for fish that inhabit the Ningaloo Reef. It is also home to a valuable fisheries.
Less than 1% of WA’s waters are protected from oil drilling and overfishing, and the industry continues to expand into new and increasingly sensitive areas. The list now includes the border of Ningaloo Marine Park, Exmouth Gulf, Barrow Island, Scott Reef, the Kimberley, Jurien Marine Park and Margaret River.
It is time to balance the growth of industrialisation of our oceans with increased marine protection. A network of marine sanctuaries, like National Parks in the sea, will help protect important marine areas from overfishing, industrialisation and oil spills.