Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius FBW Asset 728x90

French seismic survey destroying local livelihoods

by Simon Boag 30 Apr 07:43 UTC
SETFIA © SETFIA

French seismic company CGG started the largest seismic survey ever undertaken in south-east Australia the morning after bushfires swept through communities just north of Lakes Entrance in January this year.

Marine seismic surveys use blasts from a powerful air gun that is up to 16km wide to see kilometres into the earth to map reserves of oil and gas. Surveys like this are now proven to kill scallops and zooplankton and also to damage crayfish. CGG's survey will cover more than 13,000km2 - an area about half the size of the East Gippsland land mass.

The Australian Government has forced CGG to pay compensation to fishermen if catch rates drop. CGG and the fishing industry (FRDC) have co-funded a study about whether the seismic survey is impacting fishermen's catch rates.

Early results from the scientific study are that catch rates in the wake of the survey drop by 2/3rds for some species while others vanish completely.

CGG have refused to release data to the fishing industry about how many claims have been made by fishermen and how many have been paid. SETFIA understands that only three claims, of perhaps only 20 in total have been paid after nearly four months of surveying.

Mr Simon Boag, SETFIA EO explains;

"Our concern has always been that CGG will finish this survey and sail back to France leaving destruction behind. In 2017 CGG announced a US$128m loss, their debt increased to US$2.6b and they filed for bankruptcy. Only a restructure saw them continue. Given their refusal to pay compensation, their precarious financial position and the downturn in oil price (which reduces the number of buyers for their data), we are concerned that they will leave and never remedy the damage they are causing."

"Some vessels have experienced drops in catch rate of more than half in the wake of the survey. Fishermen now call the surveyed area the dead zone."

"Fishermen are telling me they can feel the seismic blasts shake their boats at night when they are on anchor trying to sleep".

"Many industries and businesses in East Gippsland have been impacted by bushfires, reduced tourism and more recently by the Covid-19 pandemic. After more than 100 years the deep sea fishing industry is one of the only significant industries in East Gippsland to survive this - it is still working and employing people. However, unless the Australian Government can force CGG to pay the compensation they promised, the fishing industry in East Gippsland will not survive".

CGG have promised to release data about claims made and paid on the 1st of May; 120 days into their 180 day campaign.

SETFIA made a formal complaint to the regulator of marine seismic surveys NOPSEMA nearly one month ago about the delay in payments. The only response we have received is via CGG who tell SETFIA that NOPSEMA found that their claim process was working well and has no issues.

In conclusion Mr Boag stated that,

"The fishing industry supports oil and gas exploration but fishermen and the East Gippsland community should not be the ones paying for the damage that this marine seismic survey is causing. CGG must be forced to keep their promise and pay fishermen for lost catches where they have occurred - the Gippsland economy needs to continue after CGG depart".

Related Articles

Opening of the trout season
Tasmanian tradition continued with the opening of brown trout fishing season After a long break from trout fishing for some of us and all the recent disruption to our lives, one Tasmanian tradition continued this weekend with the opening of the 2020-21 brown trout fishing season. Posted on 4 Aug
Register for Naked Warrior Project Fishing
Join us for the second annual event You'll almost certainly never have a better opportunity to go fishing with Navy SEALs. Plus, the total prize money will be at least $12,000, with the winning team guaranteed to walk away with $5,000 (and possibly more). Posted on 17 Jul
Lose some boat options and catch more fish
The key advice from a man who has spent 35 years at the forefront of professional fishing charters Lose some options when you're buying a new boat and instead catch far better fish, far more regularly. Posted on 9 Jul
Port Phillip partnership to double shellfish reefs
Shellfish reefs boost fish numbers, clean water and enhance marine biodiversity The Andrews Labor Government and The Nature Conservancy will continue their partnership approach to revitalising shellfish reefs in Port Phillip Bay by investing $1.1 million to build three hectares of new native oyster reef. Posted on 14 Jun
Girls right into the picture to catch fish
More and more women want to learn how to read sonar sounders More and more women are wanting to learn how to read sonar sounders properly... and just like reversing a boat trailer, their preferred first stop for instruction is not from a partner who thinks he knows what it's all about. Posted on 7 May
Fishing with Jackson Ford
Offshore and inshore fishing tips This short article outlines chasing one of my favourite table fish the Snapper and variable other species. I'll go through techniques to hopefully get you out and about and fish on the table. Posted on 7 Apr
Top 10 baits from Lake Martin
Bites were easy, getting the quality separated the field Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. Posted on 29 Mar
Catch shoot upload and earn
PicTrax app available on Android and Apple platforms Recreational fisherfolk who come across great waterway scenes or who land superb catches against stunning backgrounds, can now make money from doing what they probably would anyway - taking a few photos on their mobile phones. Posted on 14 Mar
Strickland hangs tough on Harris
His first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit win Laramy Strickland knew one day he'd get his first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit win, and he knew he wanted to win on his home fishery, surrounded by friends and family. Posted on 27 Feb
Toyota Series on Lake Chickamuaga
Central Division opener is perfectly timed to be a big-bass slugfest The 2020 Toyota Series will open the Central Division with a tournament next week at Lake Chickamauga, Feb. 27-29, with the Toyota Series at Lake Chickamauga. Posted on 26 Feb
Marina Exchange FOOTER 1