USA: BOEM Stops Seismic Surveys Until End of Dolphin Calving Season


The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity aim to put restrains on underwater seismic equipment used in surveys. Reports show that this equipment harms marine mammals.
With a growing number of sick and dead dolphins getting stranded on the shores of Louisiana, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management decided to urge Global Geophysical Services Inc. to stop conducting seismic surveys, done with air-guns that emit sounds, until the bottlenose dolphin calving season ends.
Michael Jasny, a senior policy analyst at the NRDC, said: “Imagine dynamite going off in your neighborhood for days, months on end. That’s the situation these animals are facing.”
There were concerns that seismic surveys could even cause marine mammals to lose their hearing, according to
Amy Scholik, a fisheries biologist with NOAA, said that it was possible that dolphin calves, because of their sensitivity to stress, could be greatly affected.
Environmental groups involved in the actions request that all the surveyors in the Gulf of Mexico are included in these restrictions.
However, the government also relies on the seismic data to have information of where it’s safe to drill. With the collected data they also decide how much oil and gas companies should be charged for leasing offshore blocks.
Marc Lawrence, Global Geophysical’s vice president in the Gulf region, states that there is no threat for the marine mammals: “We see no hazard to them whatsoever“.
According to statistics, from February 2010. NOAA has reported 180 dolphin strandings in the sorrounding areas of Barataria Bay — Jefferson, Plaquemines and Lafourche — or about 18 percent of the 1,000 estimated dolphins in the bay.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states it had found 32 dolphins over the last month in the bay that were underweight, anemic and showing signs of liver and lung disease, all these simptoms could be consistent with oil exposure.



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