There has been much speculation about the cost of the coal boom to the Great Barrier Reef. Now a new study highlights that humpback whales breeding on the Great Barrier Reef could also be a casualty.
A new study, published by the Marine Ecology Progress Series journal, identifies a likely breeding and calving ground off Mackay and a likely migration route off Gladstone that are under threat.
Both Mackay and Gladstone are ports that are at the centre of the coal boom with planned port expansions and massive shipping increases (six-fold) expected.
“What this study reveals is that humpback whales are literally on a collision course with the coal industry,” Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn said in a statement “We are talking about building a coal superhighway right through primary breeding grounds.”
Australian Greens senator Larissa Waters said in a statement “They [The Australian Government] can’t turn our World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef into a coal and gas highway without severely damaging the environmental values for which the reef was listed in the first place.”