Sea Shepherd Australia currently enjoys the financial support of Gowings Brothers Pty Ltd, the developer behind DA0824/16DA.
Under the banner of the Gowings Whale Trust, Sea Shepherd merchandise is sold in Gowings-owned and managed shopping centres, Port Central and Coffs Central; furthermore, Gowings has pledged a donation to Sea Shepherd to buy a new RIB Chase boat for their new vessel, Ocean Warrior. (This may have already been purchased.)
Given Sea Shepherd is, notionally, an eco-aware organisation, and given the proximity of Gowing’s proposed 24-hour service centre and fast food outlet to the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve, Moonee Beach Action Group thought it important that Sea Shepherd be aware of our concerns over the proposed development.
Specifically we sought to draw their attention to the potential pollutants and contaminants that could threaten the ecosystems of the protected Moonee Nature Reserve (home to some 20 endangered or vulnerable species) and the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
We believe the contradictions are self-evident: whale migration corridor threatened by proposed development; whale protection group accepts donations from proposal developer.
Moonee Beach Action Group has asked Sea Shepherd for an official position on this contradiction. We have pointed them in the direction of all the relevant information on our website, and according to their correspondent, they have conducted their own investigation. Their response so far is that they cannot see the problem with the proposed development.
As a result, the Moonee Beach Action Group offers this position statement vis à vis DA0824/16DA and Sea Shepherd:
Sea Shepherd says YES to Gowings’ Donations
Sea Shepherd Australia will continue to receive donations from Gowings and their affiliated trusts.
This position comes despite Sea Shepherd being supplied all information relevant to DA0824/16DA, and despite Sea Shepherd’s own subsequent investigation into this development proposal.
We have openly expressed our disappointment to Sea Shepherd members within Coffs Harbour and to Sea Shepherd’s national office.
Our challenge remains to educate the Sea Shepherd organisation and its employees about the development, its potential environmental impact, and the contradiction their partnership with Gowings represents.
The Moonee Beach Action Group remains focussed on working with the community to stop DA0824/16DA.
This year we’ve seen migrating humpbacks and other whale species closer to shore than ever — some as close as 200 metres. This is, in part, testament to the pristine environment of the Solitary Islands Marine Park and its constituent feeder creeks and estuaries, and the overall health of these ecosystems. It should not be subject to the threat of habitat degradation, pollutants, contaminants and litter that would arise from a 24-hour service centre and fast food restaurant.
C’mon Sea Shepherd: it’s obvious.
We welcome further discussion with Sea Shepherd and remain open to an official statement.