Dredge dumping starts in Shark Bay World Heritage Zone
Dredging is set to commence this week in Western Australia’s Shark Bay World Heritage area despite ongoing calls from WAFIC, and an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) report confirming the inevitable damage to local habitats and aquatic species.
The Hopper Barge “Modi R” and the Tug “ËDI” have now arrived in Shark Bay waters and are at the shipping channel preparing to commence dredging operations.
You can monitor the ship markers on the AIS marine site.
Shark Balt Salt (which is wholly-owned by Japanese industrial giant Mitsui and Co) has ordered the dredging to clear a channel for its ships.
Unfortunately, the dredging will see approximately 80,000 cubic metres of dredge spoils dumped into Shark Bay’s World Heritage area, with the EPA report confirming the likelihood of a mortality event on local crabs, scallops, prawns and sea grass in the area. Concerns are also held for local dolphins and dugongs which reside within the World Heritage listed marine park.
Unfortunately, the EPA overlooked an option for the dredge spoils to be towed three hours out to sea, with no damage to the local marine park, and is standing by the sea-dumping approval despite the known mortality.
ABC radio asked WA Environment Minister Reece Whitby about the dumping and was told it had been approved by former WA Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson, and he wasn’t going to seek the change to dump in deeper water.
The Federal Environment Minister’s office is also aware of the dumping and mortality but has opted not to amend the sea-dumping permit to enforce dumping further offshore.