Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Oil Exploration in Maui Dolphin Protection Zone

Click for big version.

Released Map Show Oil Exploration in Maui Dolphin Protection Zone Last Week

A map released today tracks the route of oil exploration ship Duke just off the coast of Patea and Whanganui which runs over Maui’s dolphin habitat, and the protected area for Maui’s Dolphin recommended by the International Whaling Commission last month. Dr Liz Slooten, an Otago University expert in whales, dolphins and porpoises, says the map clearly shows oil exploration breaching the protected area for Maui’s dolphin that has strong public support from all around the country and from New Zealand and international scientists.

Dr Slooten says Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith is wrong about Maui dolphins not being in the oil survey zones (1). “The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission has urged New Zealand to protect Maui’s dolphins out to 20 nautical miles offshore from Maunganui Bluff in the north to Whanganui in the south. These oil surveys put the world’s smallest dolphin at further risk by covering more than half of the protected area recommended by the IWC. This could literally be the last nail in the coffin for Maui’s dolphin”.

Oil exploration ship Duke has been commissioned by Todd Shell. It has a long tail that trails behind the ship with detonators which sends a sonic explosion that penetrates the seabed and bounce back to the ship. This seismic testing reveals geologies below the seabed which may point to where oil and gas are located.

Dr Slooten says that having observers on oil survey vessels are “virtually useless” and do very little to protect whales.

“Overseas research has shown that observers on the seismic testing ships only see around ten percent of whales and dolphins in the area. That’s because sperm whales, for example, spend 45 minutes diving and feeding for every 10 minutes they comes to the surface to breathe.”

“Most of the whales that are sensitive to noise will be on the run or already be in deep trouble, before the observers can see them”, said Dr Slooten. “Seismic survey noise can be heard for at least 80 kilometres, but the observers can see whales and dolphins for only one or two kilometres, and then, only when they surface.”

“Beaked and sperm whales are sensitive to seismic sonar explosions for oil exploration that can damage hearing, whichwhales rely on to navigate, and they can be killed, if they’re very close to the sonic explosions”.

About half of the world’s whales, dolphin and porpoise species live in our waters. They often travel huge distances around our country at different times of the year.

Dr Liz Slooten says there are three common responses from when whales are scared by sonar:
1) a reaction to escape the sounds can push marine mammals into areas of other risks (eg netting)
2) because sound travels further in deep water, whales may head for shallower and shallower water where the sonar noise becomes quiet more quickly, and end up beaching themselves
3) beaked whales normally feed 1000-3000 deep off Northland and may panic and try to surface too quickly. This can give them the bends by not being able to depressurise. The result is death.

A rare pygmy sperm whale beached earlier this year near Raglan while seismic testing was going on for oil and gas. The cause of death is unknown because the whale was quickly shot and buried before an autopsy could be carried out.

(1) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10193354/Nick-Smith-backtracks-over-Mauis-Dolphin


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news