Industrial proposal for deepwater port threatens Exmouth Gulf

Credit: Oceanwise

There’s a new threat to Exmouth Gulf. Gascoyne Gateway Ltd is proposing an industrial port at beautiful Qualing Pool in the Gulf, 10km south of Exmouth. A huge rock causeway and pylon wharf structure around 1km long would be constructed, with dredging of the seabed, impacting or destroying precious marine habitat.

The facility would draw some of the biggest ships on the seas deep into Exmouth Gulf, including bulk cargo carriers, offshore oil and gas support vessels, fuel tankers, and massive cruise liners.  This is no place for major shipping traffic! We wouldn’t contemplate building a port facility with heavy industrial infrastructure at Rottnest Island and nor should we at Exmouth Gulf.

The natural, intact area where the port would be constructed is home to a rich diversity of life including corals, seagrass meadows, sponge gardens, as well as vulnerable dugongs, whales, turtles, dolphins and birdlife. The area is shallow and protected from big ocean swells and is a sanctuary for animals like dugongs and whales, where they nurse their calves.

Qualing Pool is a highly important and rare oasis of freshwater on the Gulf, and the wide beach there, known affectionately as ‘Barbeque Beach,’ is one of the most popular in the area. It’s a place where locals and visitors enjoy going for a snorkel, dropping a line in the water or just relaxing, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It would be tragic to lose these social and community values.

We should instead be looking at securing low-key, sustainable nature-based economic activity for Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo – such as eco-tourism, marine science, education and conservation management – that protect and complement the region’s world-class environmental values.

Exmouth locals gathered in unprecedented numbers to show their concerns about the deepwater port proposal.