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Senate calls for Minister to review decision on Shark Bay’s 1000 year old marine life

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 10 May 2012

The Senate has today passed a motion calling on Environment and Water Minister Tony Burke to reassess a decision which will allow for the removal of 45 stromatolites from Hamelin Pool at Shark Bay.

“The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities recently decided to allow the removal of these stromatolites, which are the world’s oldest living organisms,” Senator Siewert said today.

“The stromatolites were one of the listing criteria for the Shark Bay World Heritage Listing.

“Researchers have applied to cut down and remove a significant number of these stromatolites and there are additional concerns this will open the door to further applications for removal.

“Needless to say, this decision is very concerning and could have a significant impact on the World and National Heritage properties of Hamelin Pool.

“Hamelin Pool contains the most diverse range of stromatolites in the world and is one of only three places on Earth where you can see living marine stromatolites.

“While the application limits the size of stromatolites taken to 60cm in height, it is worth noting that with a growth rate of 5cm every 100 years, a 60cm stromatolite might be more than 1,000 years old.

“The motion calls on the Minister to reassess this decision as a matter of urgency and prevent this or any other removals from going ahead unless and until there is more transparency around the process and better justification for the research and the need for such a large number of samples,” Senator Siewert concluded.

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