Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Scientist Exposes Impacts of Oil Blasting on NZ Blue Whales

“Hearing is Believing”: Scientist Exposes Impacts of Oil Blasting on NZ Blue Whales


Thursday, November 2: A renowned marine ecologist at Oregon State University has laid bare the harmful impacts that seismic blasting for oil has on New Zealand’s marine life, including the blue whale.

Dr Leigh Torres from the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, has penned a blog and released recordings that expose the intensity of the seismic airguns used by the petroleum industry to search for oil. The report was written in collaboration with Dr Holger Klinck from Cornell University.

Taken in New Zealand’s South Taranaki Bight, the underwater recordings capture an oil survey ship letting off seismic blasts every eight seconds. Disturbingly, when sped up, they also reveal the call of a blue whale being drowned out.

Torres says whales use sound to communicate, find food, and navigate, and seismic blasting means their lives are “disturbed and dramatically altered”.

“Imagine someone operating a nail gun for three months in your kitchen and you have nowhere else to eat. You would stay to feed yourself, but your stress level would elevate, health deteriorate, and potentially have hearing damage,” she wrote.

“The evidence has mounted. There is no longer a scientific debate: Seismic airguns are harmful to marine animals and ecosystems.”

Other marine life like squid, spiny lobster, scallops, and plankton, also suffer from seismic blasting.

The release of the recordings comes as the world’s largest seismic oilfields company, Schlumberger, waits for the New Zealand Government to approve an application to seismic blast across 19,000 square kilometres of the Taranaki Basin this summer. The data will be on-sold to Austrian oil company, OMV.

The area is right in the middle of the recently discovered blue whale habitat, the whale’s only known feeding ground in New Zealand.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says based on the evidence Dr Torres has presented, the Government must stop this new survey from going ahead.

“We understand they are proposing three months of constant blasting, every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day. The impacts on blue whales in this area are likely to be torturous, interfering with their communication and feeding,” Simcock says.

“As well as the harmful impacts on marine life, science tells us we can’t afford to burn most of the fossil fuel reserves we know about if we’re to have a chance at stabilising our climate. Searching for more oil is madness, and our new Government needs to urgently put an end to this.”


ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Retail: International Websites To Pay GST

New rules would be aimed at imported goods valued at or below $1,000. Customs would retain responsibility for collecting GST on imported parcels valued more than $1,000. More>>

ALSO:

High-Level Advice: PM’s Business Advisory Council Membership Announced

The Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council brings together a mix of experts, six women and seven men with small to large business experience, from across New Zealand, to provide advice. More>>

ALSO:

Improving: Report Shows New Zealand Air Quality 'Good'

Our air 2018, produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, shows that while some previously known issues persist, progress has been made and levels of some pollutants are declining. More>>

ALSO:

Greenpeace: Govt Extends OMV Exploration Permit

The Government has just granted oil giant OMV a two-year extension to drill in the Great South Basin, despite issuing a ban on new oil and gas exploration permits in April. More>>

ALSO:

Collective Bargaining For Contractors: Working Group's Model For Screen Sector

A recommended model to allow collective bargaining for contractors in the screen sector has today been unveiled by the Government-convened Film Industry Working Group. More>>

ALSO:

Kauri Dieback: DOC Closing Tracks To Protect Trees

The Department of Conservation will close 21 tracks across kauri land to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback. An additional 10 tracks will also be partially closed and the open sections upgraded... More>>