Pipeline fish found in big numbers

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
One of the species seen in the pipeline study.
Camera IconOne of the species seen in the pipeline study. Credit: The University of Western Australia/Picture: The University of Western Australia

According to a study by The University of Western Australia, subsea oil and gas pipelines might not be as detrimental to marine life as many believe.

UWA researchers found BHP’s Griffin pipeline, 30km south-west of Onslow, had more than double the commercial value of fish than surrounding areas in deep waters.

It was found that the pipeline, which extends from the shallows to depths of greater than 140m, had 131 marine species recorded on it. In depths beyond 80m, the pipeline had two to three times the value of commercial fish species than surrounding habitats, with fish species such as goldband and saddletail snapper recorded in high numbers.

UWA lead author Todd Bond said they saw a greater difference in the fish on and off the pipeline in deeper water, where their naturally occurring complex habitat became limited.

“It is important we understand the interaction between pipelines and local fisheries to inform future decisions around how they are managed,” he said.

“Hundreds of offshore oil and gas fields in the Asia Pacific will reach the end of their productive life over the next decade.”

“Knowledge of the ecosystems supported by subsea infrastructure will help ensure that these assets are decommissioned in the way that maximises the benefit to the community and environment.”

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