Are the Whales’ ‘Trust’ Misplaced

This is from the ‘Gowings Whale Trust’ page on their Port Central website:

We established the Gowings Whale Trust to increase people’s knowledge, involvement and understanding of the Humpback Whale through public education. The Humpback delights coastal dwellers with its acrobatics as it makes its way through Australian waters and by increasing our understanding of this mammal, its environment and the impact man has upon it we will have a greater chance of ensuring its survival.

Something strike you as out-of-whack here? How does the statement

” … by increasing our understanding of this mammal, its environment and the impact man has upon it we will have a greater chance of ensuring its survival”

tally with Gowings’ proposed service centre and fast food outlet within spitting distance of the protected Moonee Estuary?

The contradiction would be laughable if it weren’t so potentially serious.

The Humpback Whale Recovery Plan (2010) states that “ongoing monitoring and management are required to ensure that habitat degradation does not become a significant issue”, and lists one such threat as “changing water quality and pollution (e.g. runoff from land based agriculture, oil spills, outputs from aquaculture)”.

Further, its recommendations include:

 Ensure that humpback whale habitat requirements are considered in the establishment and management of marine conservation areas and reserves;

Assess and manage physical disturbance and development activities (such as ship‑strike, aquaculture, pollution, recreational boating, naval activities, and exploration and extraction industries) – including the application of environmental impact assessment and approvals and the development of industry guidelines and State/Commonwealth government regulations.

Let’s give Gowings the benefit of the doubt and accept that their Whale Trust and campaign literature aren’t just a marketing stunt to give we Coffs Coasters the warm and fuzzies.

But in giving them the benefit of the doubt, they in turn must live up to their own campaign’s aims and promises, and accept that their proposed development of a service centre and fast food outlet at Moonee Beach is totally incongruous with “ensuring [the humpback whale’s] survival.”

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