Why The Exmouth Gulf Has Barely Been Touched By Science

If you look at it from a bigger perspective, man hasn’t been on Earth for a very long time. As such, it’s only natural that we haven’t scoured up every inch of it yet. Even with the damage we’ve already made, there are still places on Earth that remains unstudied. One such example is the the pristine blue surface of Western Australia’s Exmouth Gulf, which, per a newly released landmark report, houses a globally significant diverse set of wildlife teeming under its waters.

With that however, comes an alarming news. The recent push to industrialize to further accommodate the holiday region might endanger the species, long before any scientist/conservationist can study and protect them.

Conveniently protected by the North West Cape peninsula, the Gulf currently sustains recreational fishing and ecotourism industries, both of which are consistently thriving. However, as much as the industries in it are thriving, the Oceanwise Australia report released last Friday reveals that there’s a huge data deficiency in the Gulf. This means that the existing knowledge about it isn’t enough to theorize what type of impact industrialization can bring.

Despite this, the existing knowledge is enough to identify the Gulf as outstanding and qualified for Global Heritage status. This is important, especially if conservationists and scientists want the almost 200 species living in it to be protected.

For example, it’s home to a large humpback whale nursery, as well as endangered sea cucumbers, critically endangered hawksbill turtles, seahorses, sea whales, bottlenose dolphins, leopard whiprays and even manta rays. It’s also the only known site in the world where the critically endangered green saw fish gives birth. There also resides, some ‘stygofauna’ that you can’t find anywhere else, as well as blind cave eels and blind gudgeon fishes.

Furthermore, the habitats present in the area also range from wetlands, to mangroves, to modern coral reefs, seagrass beds, undisturbed islands and beaches. Fossilized coral reefs that date back to the last Ice Age are also present in the peninsula where Exmouth is located.

“There is an immediate need to implement a large-scale, multidisciplinary Exmouth Gulf Marine Research Program,” said the report.

nature-2923992_960_720 Gulf are usually home to an abundance of biodiversity, be it flora or fauna. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)