Operation Jeedara 2018

Why is Sea Shepherd Going Back?

Two years ago, Operation Jeedara showcased a truly remarkable place – one of Mother Nature’s greatest and grandest shows on Earth. As a result, both BP and Chevron have since pulled out of drilling for oil in the Bight. This time, we’ll take our cameras below the waves to reveal more secrets from this natural wonderland as Statoil and Santos now have their eyes on the Bight. We’ll also explore and gather vital evidence to prove just how important Marine Park Sanctuaries are to the Bight.

Operation Jeedara 2018
The Problem

There are 19 marine parks and 83 sanctuary zones in the Great Australian Bight. Aside from that, Statoil are actively looking to drill for oil in two locations in the Bight before their three-year exploration permits end in 2020. Santos are also planning to conduct seismic testing for suitable drilling wells in the Bight. The M/Y Steve Irwin will conduct a critical two-week ecological marine survey off some of these remote offshore island marine park sanctuary zones in an effort to further highlight the critical importance these protected areas have on the Great Australian Bight. Four research dives a day per location conducting underwater surveys and gather the vital evidence they need to continue to protect the Bight. The M/Y Steve Irwin and an international crew will depart Port Adelaide on Monday, March 19 and will return on Wednesday, March 28.

Operation Jeedara 2018
Marine Surveys

The M/Y Steve Irwin will visit the protected islands of Off Top Gallant, Ward, Flinders and Pearson, which are all part of the Investigator Wilderness Protection Area. These islands form part of a reef just off the Eyre Peninsula.

 

This wilderness protection area was established in 2011 in order to guard the endangered Australian sea lion, New Zealand fur seal, the White-faces storm petrel, Cape Barren geese, mutton birds, and the Pearson Island black-footed wallaby.

Operation Jeedara 2018
Why are South Australia’s marine parks so important?

A five-year report released in January 2017 showed that the state’s marine park network is on track with its program of protecting and conserving the Bight’s significant biodiversity of marine life.

Highlights of the report include:

- 205 species of fish have been discovered in SA’s marine parks

- SA’s marine parks and sanctuary zones are protecting vulnerable species such as the blue groper, blue devils, harlequin fish, and the weedy sea dragon

Despite strong public support for marine parks (91 per cent of Australians supported marine parks in 2017), the Federal Government plans to dramatically reduce protection of Australia's oceans by allowing commercial fishing in 80% of the total area of Australia’s marine parks. We need to gather the critical evidence to show just how important marine parks are, not only for the Great Australian Bight, but for all vital marine parks around Australia.

Operation Jeedara 2018

The M/Y Steve Irwin's Itinerary

The duration of the expedition at this stage is around two weeks, with the following planned itinerary:

 

* Monday, March 19, 2018: M/Y Steve Irwin departs Port Adelaide en route to Pearson Island.

 

* Tuesday, March 20: Arrive at Pearson Island. Conduct 2 dives (Southeast Bay & Inner Bay South)

 

* Wednesday, March 21: Pearson Island. 3 dives (Inner Bay North, East) 

 

* Thursday, March 22: Pearson Island/ Flinders Island. 1 dive at Pearson (Northwest Bay). 1 dive at Flinders (Southeast coast)

 

* Friday, March 23: Flinders Island 3 dives (Southeast coast) 

 

* Saturday, March 24: Flinders Island / Top Gallant. 2 dives at Flinders (Southeast/Northwest Coast). 1 dive at Top Gallant

 

* Sunday, March 25: Pearson Island/ Ward Island. 2 dives at Pearson 

 

* Monday, March 26: Pearson Island/Flinders. No dives. Observing.

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