Recfishwest is pleased proposed plans to build a pipeline fabrication and launching facility south of Exmouth, which posed a big threat to the area’s special wilderness values and the fishing experiences they support, have been canned.
Norwegian engineering company Subsea 7 announced yesterday afternoon it had taken the decision to “cease investment” in the proposed facility in Learmonth, south of Exmouth “following a review of market conditions”.
Recfishwest, along with many of you in the fishing community, joined a chorus of protest about the proposed plans when they were originally announced given Exmouth Gulf’s unique and important location as a fishing destination.
When Subsea 7’s plans were put out for public consultation, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) received 2,498 public comments, of which around 95 per cent, called for a full public environmental review – ensuring the highest level of scrutiny and transparency during the assessment period.
Making a loud statement
“We were greatly heartened by this at the time, as we knew a great many of these submissions came from passionate fishers who like us cared deeply enough about the future of this precious place to make a loud statement,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.
“And while Subsea 7’s decision to pull the plug on the proposed industrial development sounds like it was ultimately made for commercial reasons, we and thousands of other fishers will welcome this news wholeheartedly as a victory for protecting the priceless Exmouth wilderness fishing experiences.
“This comes following the good news we shared with you in September that the WA Government has placed a temporary halt on a range of proposed industrial developments proposed for Exmouth Gulf to allow the EPA to carry out an assessment of the cumulative impacts of the current and future developments in the gulf.”
Recfishwest maintains Exmouth Gulf is one of the State’s great accessible wilderness fishing areas and industrialising it is simply incompatible with the area’s wilderness values.
No industrial footprint in the Exmouth Gulf!
“Our submission to the EPA on the Subsea 7 development proposals in November last year was crystal clear: the idea of developing any industrial footprint over one of the State’s most accessibly unspoilt fishing areas has always seemed ludicrous,” Dr Rowland said.
“While we will need to remain vigilant over future development plans leading to the industrialisation of the gulf, the dropping of Subsea 7’s pipeline project means one less threat to one of WA’s most iconic fishing destinations. Now that’s a win for all of us.”