President Obama recently announced a significant expansion in offshore drilling and exploration. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has called for seismic surveying to explore for oil along the mid and south Atlantic. Seismic surveying is incredibly damaging to marine ecosystems.
Seismic surveys are conducted to locate and estimate the size of an offshore oil reserve. In order to conduct surveys, ships use ‘airgun arrays’ to emit high-decibel explosive impulses in order to map the seafloor. The noise from seismic surveys can damage or kill fish eggs and larvae and impair the hearing and health of fish, making them susceptible to predators and making it challenging for them to locate prey or mates or communicate with each other. These disturbances can disrupt important migratory patterns, forcing marine life away from suitable habitats meant for foraging and mating. In addition, seismic surveys have been implicated in whale beaching and stranding incidents.
Seismic testing is equivalent to a bomb detonating every few seconds for months on end! To learn more about seismic testing check out this Surfrider Foundation fact sheet on Coastal A-Z here.
Take a moment to send a clear message that seismic testing is devastating to marine ecosystems--urge the MMS to consider the environmental impacts of seismic surveying and the use of less damaging alternative technologies.