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Environmental group: Whales, dolphins at risk from blasts

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Whales, dolphins at risk from blasts

Environmental group: Whales, dolphins at risk from blasts

A nonprofit ocean advocacy group released new animated maps this week that show the most dangerous zones for dolphins and whales, threatened by proposed seismic airgun blasting used for oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

The maps, based on research from Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, draw from more than two decades of data on bottlenose dolphins and endangered humpback, fin and sperm whales in the South Atlantic Ocean. Oceana overlaid that information with the proposed areas for seismic airgun surveys to explore for oil and gas.

“We hope this shows that these animals are everywhere,” said Dustrin Cranor, a spokesman for Oceana, “So the recommendations on closures to protect these species simply won’t work.”

Endangered right whales were not included on the map because there are only an estimated 400 to 500 remaining.

A nonprofit ocean advocacy group released new animated maps this week that show the most dangerous zones for dolphins and whales, threatened by proposed seismic airgun blasting used for oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

The maps, based on research from Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, draw from more than two decades of data on bottlenose dolphins and endangered humpback, fin and sperm whales in the South Atlantic Ocean. Oceana overlaid that information with the proposed areas for seismic airgun surveys to explore for oil and gas.

Whales, dolphins at risk from blasts
Risk Blast

“We hope this shows that these animals are everywhere,” said Dustrin Cranor, a spokesman for Oceana, “So the recommendations on closures to protect these species simply won’t work. “Endangered right whales were not included on the map because there are only an estimated 400 to 500 remaining.

Last year, 75 marine scientists sent a letter to President Barack Obama on the impacts of seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic, expressing concerns that seismic airgun tests could cause widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammal populations, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.

More than 150 state representatives in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia recently sent letters to President Barack Obama urging him to oppose the seismic testing in the Atlantic.

The proposed Atlantic Seismic Airgun Protection Act would establish a moratorium on seismic airgun testing related to oil and gas exploration along the East Coast.

“We already know that the noise from seismic airguns is especially concerning for marine life, including fish, turtles, whales and dolphins, which depend on sound for communication and survival,” said Dr. Ingrid Biedron, marine scientist at Oceana. “The noise from these blasts is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, which is approximately the distance from Washington, DC to Las Vegas.”

Contact Waymer at 321-242-3663 or jwaymer@floridatoday.com Follow him on Twitter@JWayEnviro and at facebook.com/jim.waymer

To access the animated maps and more information about proposed seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic, please visit www.oceana.org/BlastZone.  

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