Sandcastle brings artistic protest against seismic testing

BAR BEACH was the location for a peaceful and artistic protest against proposed 3D seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle.

Renowned sand sculptor Dennis Massoud visited the city on January 18 to create several sand sculptures in order to raise awareness about the impact of seismic testing on marine life. 

“We need to consider the harm we are inflicting on our marine environment with seismic blasting,” Mr Massoud said.

“It is unbelievable that the oil and gas companies are allowed to return for more seismic blasting, which I am completely opposed to, as we all should be.”

MEC Resources – the parent company of Asset Energy, which conducted 2D seismic testing off the Newcastle coast in 2018 – filed a statement with the ASX on December 31, which said results from the April tests “highlighted some interesting amplitude anomalies”.

It is expected 3D seismic testing will commence in 2019 across 500 square kilometres of coastal waters between Newcastle and the Central Coast. 

 Save Our Coast organiser Dr Natasha Deen said the protest was about captivating people through “artistic and beautiful sand sculptures” to reflect on the impact of seismic testing on marine life.

“Seismic testing is being imposed on our coast, on our communities, by the Federal Government without community consultation,” Dr Deen said. “There is massive opposition.”

Dr Deen said 3D testing would see multiple airguns firing simultaneously.

“Global research demonstrates the massive impact 3D seismic testing has on the environment,” Dr Deen said. 

New Zealand banned all off-shore oil and gas exploration in April 2018.

In the same year, Newcastle City Council and Central Coast Councils called for a halt to seismic testing.  

There has been strong objections by the local recreational and professional fishing communities, as well as marine-based tourism operators. 

The State Government is also opposed to testing in NSW waters.

However, exploration licences are controlled by the Federal Government. 

Find out more about Save Our Coast here: saveourcoast.org.au