Several Port MacDonnell offshore fisherman have made their opposition to the proposed Southern Ocean offshore wind zone known as the decision date for the proposed area looms closer.
The consultation period for the Southern Ocean offshore wind zone held by Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen closed on August 31.
Minister Bowen has approximately 10 weeks from that date to decide whether the proposed area, which is 300km of coast from Warrnambool to Port MacDonnell, is suitable for offshore renewable energy developments.
Bodhi Pannenburg said he has been fishing offshore at Port MacDonnell for around 15 years which started out with chasing shark and school tuna with his father.
“Over this time, I have seen our offshore scene explode dramatically with the inclusion of big runs of the world class southern bluefin tuna over 100kg,” he said.
“Our ocean is a pristine waterway and it is home to many rare marine wildlife and also home to plenty of commercial fisherman who make a living from our ocean.
“The Southern Ocean is a highway for marine life especially during the seasonal migrations of blue whales, humpback whales, southern right whales, orcas, dolphins, porpoises, southern bluefin tuna and hundreds of thousands of marine birds and some are very rare including the wandering albatross.
“All of this happens during the Bonney Upwelling which pumps tonnes of nutrients into our Southern Ocean.
“Putting offshore wind here would be no different to placing them in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef or Ningaloo Reef, you just simply would not do it.
“It will destroy a whole ecosystem and will have severe impacts on the ocean wildlife and everyone else who uses and loves the ocean.
“I cannot believe these are even an option for Australia, it’s not just here but our whole coastline around the country is a marine highway. We should definitely be looking at other options on land and leave our oceans alone.”
James Varcoe is another local angler who is against the proposed zone.
“When I started fishing at Port Mac there were millions of small tuna but not as many big tuna,” he said.
“Fishing right now from bottom fishing to pelagics is the best I have ever seen, it’s very hard to not catch a fish.
“Fishing will be horrible with offshore wind because no one will be able to go near them and who knows what’s going to happen to the fish if they proceed.”