Finding The Balance With Gas And Oil : Marine Reserves

Finding The Balance With Gas And Oil : Marine Reserves

How can we get the maximum from the marine reserves? The review concentrates on zones which exclude recreational fishers, and if those fishers could be permitted back in.

However, fishing is not the sole threat to marine life: petroleum and gas developments additionally affect overseas waters. Separating marine protected areas and areas with gas and oil potential contributes to an unrepresentative reservation system. But working with gas and oil firms could work out equally for business and our sea.

Like Water And Oil

It’s very difficult in areas that encourage both significant biodiversity values and business assets like gas and oil sources and significant recreational and commercial fisheries.

While the present management review will concentrate on fishing, a very distinct challenge is present in Australia’s northwest sea area.

At a time of transition, after a decade-long mining boom, the government is trying to increase accessibility to the country’s gas and oil resources. Together with nearly all (92 percent) of Australia’s traditional gas sources situated in Australia’s shore, finding the ideal balance between biodiversity conservation and business interests is challenging and possibly costly.

Actually, disasters have occurred. The blowout in PTTEP’s Montara wellhead, situated 250km from the Kimberley coast, led to 10 months of constant release of gas and oil to the Timor Sea.

To begin with, the danger of an oil spill has been realised and among the most pristine and ecologically diverse marine environments was set at danger of irreversible harm.

We lack the environmental data for the area to have the ability to recognize and manage the consequences of an oil spill.

While we lacked preexisting environmental data, there was little proof of a significant effect from the oil spill. To enhance this process later on we finally have some baseline monitoring websites set up. Additionally, we’ve got a new regulator centered on the execution of more rigorous oil spill response strategies and risk management processes and individual businesses have needed to updated their answer and management strategies.

Protecting Hidden Reefs And Biodiversity Hotspots

A significant discovery was that the abundant coral reef communities of their underwater banks and shoals. But because these submerged mounds stride under the sea surface they’ve previously gone undetected, concealed beneath the waves.

Intensive post spill polls demonstrated that the shoals to support fish diversity better that seen on similar attributes inside the Great Barrier Reef. They’re also positioned to behave as important stepping stones to get biological transport throughout Australia’s north west and can function as a significant refuge for species vulnerable to climate change.

On the other hand, the present national marine reservations system provides virtually no protection for these regions (less than 2% drop over the no take marine reserves).

World’s Largest Marine Park Network

The former government aimed to make the “world’s biggest marine park community”. With the present network dropping just shy of 30 percent of Australia’s territorial waters, they came really near.

Last month I direct a workshop in the University of Western Australia to evaluate the marine park community into the North West of Australia (North West of Broome). The workshop comprised universities, industry and government.

Throughout the workshop we analyzed exactly how representative the marine parks of the area really are.

In spite of this, the majority (75 percent) of the suggested no take areas concentrates on the abyssal plain 3000-6000 metres under the surface.

Why? Protecting biodiversity into the North West of Australia includes significant opportunity costs to the petroleum and gas business and industrial fishers.

A Way Ahead

Having a book system struggling to become agent, there are very real issues related to making any changes out a strong conservation planning procedure. Presently the national government proposes to keep the outer borders of the marine parks community, while shifting zoning inside the reservations to permit commercial and recreational fishers access. However, without shutting alternative places, this is only going to undermine our limited capability to handle threatening processes and save biodiversity.

Analyzing a little fraction of the issue will only ever supply a tiny portion of this solution.

In the workshop in WA, we attempted to think of a better alternative. We looked in a means to increase representativeness, while minimising costs to consumer groups employing an innovative systematic conservation planning strategy.

Preliminary investigations demonstrated that completely excluding entire regions prospective for gas and oil reserves makes a system of marine protected areas unrepresentative whilst including these areas makes a book system extremely costly.

A cost-effective alternative can be found to this area by bringing business users to the control process and agreeing that potential regions for gas and oil extraction aren’t incompatible with marine biodiversity conservation. Petroleum and gas developments frequently have rigorous biodiversity protection goals and with individuals present on many websites all of the time, authorities of adjoining no take areas is possibly far less costly.

The chance for the gas and oil sector to be actively engaged in the protection of marine biodiversity might be a method of offering currently unrepresented marine ecosystems a certain amount of protection also. Generally the business infrastructure footprint is rather small. Major oil imports from mining and manufacturing activities globally are comparatively rare with only one happening on the west shore of Australia. While the threat is low, the results can be higher.

In a region extremely valuable to business the prices of biodiversity protection will probably be higher if we continue to determine gas and oil interests as incompatible with conservation. However, leaving these special ecosystems without protection and management can cost us more in the long run.