Media Release Offshore Oil and Gas

Victoria’s west coast hit by more seismic blasting plans in whale calving grounds

January 29, 2024

Transnational geotechnical company CGG has lodged plans to conduct seismic blasting in the Otway Basin just kilometres off the coast of the Great Ocean Road and in the calving grounds of the endangered southern right whale, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said today. 

Companies use seismic blasting to search for fossil fuel deposits, but it also deafens whales and hurts other marine life. The public has until February 26 to comment on the proposal with offshore oil and gas regulator NOPSEMA.

AMCS Oil and Gas Campaign Manager Louise Morris said: “After a month of rallies, paddle outs, community meetings and protests along the Great Ocean Road and the west coast by Victorian community groups, the announcement that CGG is pushing ahead with yet another seismic blasting proposal for the Otway Basin is a slap in the face.

“We have been working with Traditional Owners, community leaders, surf groups and recreational fishers to protect our ocean from these harmful seismic blasting proposals that use aa cheap and quick permit called a Special Prospecting Authority (SPA) – a permit that allows companies to access large areas of our ocean for just $8250 to conduct seismic blasting for up to 180 days on our marine life, whale habitat and sensitive marine ecosystems.

“We have been calling on the Australian Government to abolish these cowboy permits, and over the past four weeks of community events thousands of people have signed our action asking the federal government to abolish SPA permits once and for all.

“We now have until February 26 to encourage people from across the country to oppose yet another seismic blasting proposals for fossil fuels in the Otway Basin, in the calving grounds of our endangered southern right whale and the feeding grounds for the blue whale.

“AMCS will again be supporting the community to make submissions in this labyrinthine process in the same way we did with the seismic blasting plans by TGS/SLB Schlumberger, for which NOPSEMA received more than 30,000 submissions, 20,000 of which came from AMCS supporters opposing seismic blasting in our ocean.”