The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust – the global organisation that fights for clean water and healthy fisheries – is urging anglers and the industry to sign a petition calling for a halt to plans to begin offshore oil drilling in approximately four million acres of ocean around the Bahamas.
It says that project – to be carried out by the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) – could start in a matter of months and poses a critical threat to the flats fishery, reefs and important marine habitat. “Oil pollution could devastate these vital natural resources, which sustain the Bahamian economy,” said Our Islands Our Future, a group formed to protect the heritage of the Bahamas. It adds: “Due to the proposed drilling site’s close proximity to the Gulf Stream, a spill could also have devastating consequences for Florida’s fisheries and coastlines, impacting on the state’s tourism and fishing industry.”
Ironically, the plans were announced on the 10th anniversary year of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which dumped nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, fouling 16,000 miles of coastline alongside five US states.
“The Deepwater Horizon rig was an exploratory well, just like the one BPC intends to drill. Even a partial repeat of that disaster would devastate our tourism and marine recreation industries. We are at a pivotal point in Bahamian history. The country’s Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis, has one last chance to protect the nation’s economy and precious natural resources from the ravages of oil pollution before it is too late.
“We ask you to join this urgent petition asking the Prime Minister to cancel all existing oil exploration licences, reject all proposed renewals and impose a permanent ban of fossil fuel exploration anywhere within our maritime borders.”
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