Local campaigners getting behind the Fight for the Bight campaign.
Local campaigners getting behind the Fight for the Bight campaign. Chris Hewgill.

Coffs Coast surfers Fight for the Bight

COFFS Coast Surfrider is calling for surfers and ocean lovers to take a stand against plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight at a paddle-out this Sunday at 10am at the Jetty Foreshores North Wall beach.

The Hands across the Sands action is part of a national strategy to oppose the Norwegian mining giant Equinor. 

The multinational is proposing to drill 372km off the Australian coastline, in pristine waters that are home to many species of marine life and also a Southern Right Whale breeding area.

Coffs Coast Surfrider spokesperson Jonathan Cassell said mining oil in the Australian Bight is a significant concern for many Coffs Harbour locals who understand the risks far outweigh any financial benefit.

"These are the roughest seas on the planet and no matter what the economic benefits, the potential for an industrial disaster along the Australian coastline is too great," Jonathan said. 

"Modelling by British Petroleum shows an oil spill in this part of the world would spread a slick across thousands of kilometres with moderate shoreline contact along the coast of NSW.

"A recent information night in Sawtell attracted around 100 people, so we know this is an important issue for many locals on the Coffs Coast."

National coordinator and Valla Beach local Heath Joske will speak at the paddle out event on behalf of the Great Australian Bight Alliance after returning this week from the Equinor AGM in Norway.

"Over 31,000 Australians have written submissions opposing the licenses to drill in the Great Australian Bight and paddle outs have happened all around Australian with over 20,000 people nationwide so far," Heath said.

"We want to send the Morrison government and newly elected Nationals MP Patrick Conaghan a reminder that the LNP promised during their election campaign that they would review Equinor's exploration licence."

"Our rich marine biodiversity and Australia's coastline should not be so seriously put at risk. The ocean is far too important for all communities not to make a stand against Equinor's plans to drill with disaster seemingly only a matter of time."

"In a recent paddle out in Torquay Victoria, many of the World Surf League professional athletes were involved including John John Florence, Mick Fanning, Owen Wright and 4,000 other members of the public."

"Many may have never surfed before but are welcome to come and show their support because we need to galvanise the entire ocean loving and surfing community to join us in Fight for the Bight," he said.

Surfrider Foundation Australia has for almost 30 years been at the forefront of ocean conservation, protecting and fighting against threats to our coastline, waves and beaches. 

WHERE AND WHEN: Join Coffs Coast Surfrider this Sunday, May 26 at 10am, North Wall Beach to tell the Norwegian mining giant No Way Equinor.

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