A dredging operation on the Gold Coast is being blamed for dropping numbers of whales spotted in the area. Given dredging is soon to begin at Eden as part of the port redevelopment and wharf extension, the ABC News report on Wednesday might have raised some local concerns.
However, there are several key differences that should reassure those looking forward to the upcoming whale watching season. Not least of which is whales don’t come all the way around into Snug Cove.
And while noise travels considerable distances underwater, the dredge to be used at Snug Cove will be a backhoe-style, not a huge ship such as being used in Queensland.
The Environmental Impact Statement conducted for the Eden works states noise output is expected to be minimal and “insignificant in relation to existing background noise from vessels that currently use the port”.
Janet Borley, operations manager at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre said, whales aren’t likely to be overly concerned with the dredging operations and are mobile enough to avoid it regardless.
In a previous role, Ms Borley worked with dolphin researchers in Melbourne when a channel was being dug in the bay. She said the resident dolphins as well as whales and other marine life simply moved to the other end of the bay from where the work was taking place.
“We have found in the past with a lot of research that it’s not a huge deal,” Ms Borley said. “We’re working with the [dredging] company and I’m certain they’re doing as much as they can [to prevent any issues].”
- The EIS for the Eden breakwater wharf extension as it relates to aquatic ecology can be found in full here