When Sea Shepherd set sail for the Great Australian Bight in August 2016, we had no idea what we would find visiting places like Nuyts Reef, Isles of St Francis, the Bunda Cliffs, the Head of Bight and the Pearson Islands.
“What we discovered is one of the world’s best kept secrets. Rich in biodiversity, the Bight is home to Blue, Minke, Fin and Humpback whales, and is one of the planet’s most significant Southern Right whale nurseries,” Sea Shepherd Australia’s Managing Director, Jeff Hansen, said.
Many fish species like the critically-endangered Southern Blue Fin tuna, Great White shark, Mako shark, seals, dolphins, extremely rare sea eagles such as the White Bellied Sea Eagle, and penguins call the Bight home. It is truly alive; a place that is rare, unique and globally significant, with many of the off-shore islands on par with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Galapagos Islands.
“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,” Jeff said.
“If we can raise the funds to complete an engine overhaul on the M/Y Steve Irwin, come March 2018, Sea Shepherd will set sail once again for the Great Australian Bight with an international volunteer crew.
"This time, we’ll take our cameras below the waves to reveal more secrets from this natural wonderland. We’ll explore and document the incredible wilderness that lies protected by the boundaries of the Pearson Islands Sanctuary Zone and other precious sanctuaries," Jeff added.
At the completion of the Bight expedition, the M/Y Steve Irwin and crew will set their sights on the Adani coal mine on Operation Reef Defence.
“From everyone here at Sea Shepherd, thank-you for your help to get our flagship, the M/Y Steve Irwin back on the water. We have some way to go but with your continued support we will be on our way to the Great Australian Bight,” Jeff said.