Rally against seismic blasting supported

Janet McNamara, left, Wendy Stevens and Maryann Kuit marched along Ocean Grove in a rally against seismic blasting. (Ivan Kemp) 381964_01

A campaign against seismic blasting for fossil gas has kicked off in Ocean Grove with a well-received peaceful march down The Terrace.

The Great Ocean Rescue tour began in Barwon Heads on Friday, January 5, with a screening of the Surfrider Foundation Australia film Southern Blast before hosting an Ocean Grove rally the next day.

Rally organiser Mitch Pope said the Otway Coastal Environment Action Network (OCEAN) initiative resulted in nearly 300 people participate in the rally, the tour’s first major event.

“We got an incredible response from business owners and everyone on the main street. When we marched slowly through the street, everyone came out of their shops and cheered us on,” he said.

“We marched from the main street down to the beach, where we had guest expert speakers talk about seismic blasting and our marine environment’s connection to the country.”

Mr Pope said it was important for people to stay informed about seismic blasting. This process releases sonic explosions of around 250 decibels every 10 seconds to search for gas and oil reserves.

“It kills zooplankton, the basis of all marine food webs. It’s so powerful that it can deafen whales who rely on their hearing for feeding, breeding, and migration,” he said.

“We’re showing these companies that we’re not going away, we’re only going to grow, our voices are only going to get louder and we’re only going to get stronger. We can win this.”

Marine biologist Madi O’Brien said the local marine environments needed to be protected against the impact of the emerging climate.

“Temperate marine environments like the Great Southern Reef are particularly crucial,” she said

“Kelp forests take up and store huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is so important for reducing the impacts of the climate crisis.”

The Great Ocean Rescue tour will continue travelling along the western Victorian coastline throughout January, with events in Wye River and Apollo Bay this weekend.

People can get involved in the tour by attending the upcoming rally and film screenings in person or by visiting ocean.org.au