Seismic testing worries
A PROFESSIONAL fisherman and a local whale expert, both with decades of experience, have raised concerns about a new round of seismic testing of seabeds off the region’s coast.
Andrew Delony became aware of the proposed sound wave surveying of the Otway Basin, including the coast off Portland, at the end of last month, while Blue Whale Study Senior Research Scientist Peter Gill said the surveying company contacted him about the proposal about three months ago.
Schlumberger Australia is seeking approval to carry out the testing to map geological formations below the seabed across a large area from Tasmania’s west coast, near Strahan, north-west to Robe, South Australia.
An information paper sent to Mr Delony said the testing would involve a boat sending signals to the subsea surface to map it two dimensionally, with the work being carried out between January and May 2019 once it has received approval from the relevant regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
While the company involved in the operation, France-founded Schlumberger, provides services to the oil and gas industry, Schlumberger did not provide information about the potential end-use of the information they gather to the Portland Observer.
Mr Delony currently harvests pipis commercially, however prior to that he caught cray fish and king crabs for about 40 years; he stopped fishing out at sea in 2013.