By Holly Fallon
Blue whales that feed of the coast of South Australia and Victoria are at risk of being driven away by Australia’s mineral boom.
With whale numbers on the rise by 10 per cent per year, scientists are predicting a rise in ship collisions as more mothers and calves move inshore.
International Fund of Animal Welfare campaigns manager Matthew Collis says the Federal Government has a tendency to release new mineral exploration areas over critical whale habitats.
“In this year’s release we’ve seen an area that’s one of only three feeding areas for endangered blue whales in all of Australian waters,” he says.
Mr Collis says the Government’s inefficiency and lack of communication when deciding on environmental issues is a major issue.
“Our concern is that there’s just not really any consultation in this process at the appropriate stage,” he says.
“The decisions are driven by companies.
“They nominate the areas.”
Mr Collis wants the newly released mining area reassessed by the Government.
“We’d like to see [Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson] reconsider releasing this area because it’s such a critical habitat for blue whales,” he says.
However, Mr Ferguson says the Government is putting in all the right measures to ensure the blue whale is protected.