Whale Shark Festival, Exmouth, WA
Below are some photos from Exmouth, Western Australia, home of the world-renowned Ningaloo Reef.
We have a busy 4 days in Exmouth, WA working with several research groups on whales sharks, manta rays and humpback whales. Today is an aerial survey day of the Reef, tomorrow is a diving trip to understand the issues affecting these 5-7m manta rays and Monday we are doing a boat survey of the local dolphin population.
And we spent some time at the Annual Whale Shark Festival today talking to various people. We did learn that the oil/gas companies are proposing building out major workboat harbors along the coast here to support the massive oil/gas exploration. We also learned that the humpback whales and their newborn spend a critical 2-4 weeks here before their migration South. More on that later.
Finally, there was a survey done in Exmouth (population 2,500 people) about the oil/gas infrastructure buildup and the vote was 60:40, where 60% of the population is in favor of the oil/gas exploration. Clearly jobs, property values and schools will benefit from this. The question is what is the impact of the marine megafauna… and that is why we are here. More later.