Offshore oil and gas a threat to local fishing industry

Michael Osborne, Jane Oakley and Jeremy Buckingham meet with local fishermen

Michael Osborne, Jane Oakley and Jeremy Buckingham meet with local fishermen

The NSW Greens have called on the State and Federal Governments to stop plans for gas and oil exploration off the coast of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie citing significant negative impacts on the region’s economically important fishing industry and coastal lifestyle.

Joined by Greens MP and Primary Industry spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham and local commercial fishing representatives, Greens candidates for the Newcastle and Charlestown By-Elections, Michael Osborne and Jane Oakley, have called for seismic testing, planned by Advent Energy to start in November, to be halted.

Newcastle candidate Michael Osborne said, “The local commercial fishing industry is a significant economic contributor to our region and has legitimate concerns about the impact initial seismic testing may have on local fisheries.

“The fisherman I spoke with today said they experienced a significant decrease in catch following previous seismic testing. There is a track record in the Hunter of mining and extractive industries pushing out sustainable businesses, we can’t allow that to happen offshore as well.

“Charlestown candidate Jane Oakley said, “Allowing exploration suggests the Government is prepared to approve oil and gas drilling offshore from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. The community doesn’t want an oil and gas industry just off our beautiful beaches and in an area known to have economically and ecologically valuable fisheries,” Jane Oakley said.

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said, “Fishermen have described this particular area as “The Farm” and expressed particular concern that the planned seismic testing will disrupt the prawn fishing.  There is also concern that the seismic testing may have medium-term effects on fishing in the area.”

The NSW Department of Primary Industries submission to the federal government notes that a review of fishing productivity in the survey area found that between 23 and 27 fishing businesses were active and produced between $12,821 and $126,407 gross value per month.

For more information see the submission here: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/526548/pep11-seismic-survey-proposal.pdf

Media contact:
Michael Osborne  0439 442 984
Jane Oakley  0401 867 080

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