Seismic Testing impact on Pilot Whales

Over 100 distressed pilot whales have been stranded to die on New Zealand’s beaches in recent weeks following seismic testing off the New Zealand coast.

Seismic testing is the first exploratory step in under seabed oil detection, performed by a ship repetitively firing off high velocity sound blasts every few seconds, day and night and sometimes over weeks or months. The sonic blast to the sea bed is generated by large underwater air guns to produce a pressure wave that penetrates the seafloor which then reflects back echoes, these then recorded by an array of sensors dragged on long cables behind the surveying ship.

The extremely powerful seismic explosions travel large distances through water, and are audible over 100kms away. There is good evidence to show that such have ‘deafened’ the whales and dolphins to the extent that they have lost their hearing upon which they are dependent for their powers of navigation.

It is very surprising that the New Zealand government, normally with excellent green credentials, should allow such activity without at least first investigating the impact. You might be able help nudge them to terminate the seismic tests until a full test survey has investigated the effects.

A petition to the New Zealand government asking them to put all seismic testing on hold, instigate an independent study and await the findings before proceeding further is available at http://action.sumofus.org/a/pilot-whale-strandings
 


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