Study: Planning Can Protect Whales in Seismic Surveys
Scientists outline recommendations for protecting whales and other marine animals from loud blasts generated by ocean seismic surveys for oil and gas exploration.
"We wanted to create a go-to document for people who are planning one of these surveys so that they can minimize the risks [to wildlife]," said Doug Nowacek, an oceanographer at Duke University and the paper's lead author.
The energy industry uses marine seismic surveys to map the seafloor and identify areas of potential interest for oil and gas drilling. To conduct the surveys, ships tow arrays of air guns that repeatedly fire powerful bursts of sound aimed at the ocean bottom. Sensors measure the return echo to reveal details of the seafloor and the underlying geologic structure. (See related, "Offshore Energy Clash Over Undersea Sound.")
"The air guns' shots are going off every 10 to 15 seconds for