Apollo Bay and Otway Ranges residents say "no" to offshore gas

Community members from Apollo Bay and the Otway Ranges held a paddle out on World Oceans day to object to the plans for offshore gas drilling in the waters of southwest Victoria and industrialisation of the Otway Basin.
OCEAN (Otway Climate Emergency Action Network), a newly formed community group, believes that expanding mining of our ocean is a backward step and a foolhardy plan when the science clearly identifies gas as a major contributor to the climate crisis:
"We have thriving tourist, fishing and farming industries that rely on the healthy, unspoiled environment of the southwest, said Lisa Deppeler of OCEAN. "What is our government thinking risking all of this?" 

OCEAN has particular concerns about the impacts of seismic testing. 
"Our local cray-fishermen have reported 'dead grounds' after seismic testing and that some areas can take five years before they show signs of recovery."
Seismic testing involves using very loud explosions to explore for reserves under the sea floor. These explosions go off every ten seconds 24/7 sometimes for months. This practice is known to kill krill for a 2 kilometre radius, it damages some molluscs and crustaceans and affects the hearing and behaviour of whales and dolphins.
"The trouble is we and the government just don’t know how much damage seismic testing does to marine life. It’s like shooting a gun into a dark room and hoping we don’t do too much damage!" 
Another concern the group has is the effect that gas mining may have on the ground waters of the Otway Basin.

"If ground waters and water pressure of the basin are affected we could see the drying of creeks and wetlands in the catchment on shore. Something similar has happened in the Latrobe Basin and this has been attributed to the gas and oil extraction off the coast of Gippsland," said Lisa Deppeler, referring to a CSIRO study.
"What we do know for sure is that burning all fossil fuels is catastrophic for global warming. What we don’t know is the extent of other collateral damage that is caused by gas and oil exploration and mining."

OCEAN is a newly formed climate action group in Apollo Bay and Otways Ranges. Friends of the Earth will be working with community groups like OCEAN across the southwest coast to resist offshore gas drilling.