A few conservation organizations announced two weeks ago that they had reached a settlement with the Department of the Interior protecting whales and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico from high-intensity airgun surveys, aka seismic testing. In order to locate potential places to drill, seismic survey ships create deafening underwater sound for days or weeks on end, hurting marine wildlife. Imagine if you relied on sound to find food, socialize, and navigate but then were thrust into an environment of near-constant deafening noise. This is what happens to marine life such as whales and dolphins when airguns are operating. A deaf whale is a dead whale, or at minimum a very hungry one.
With this victory, areas that are considered biologically important will be safeguarded from airgun surveys, listening devices are required to protect endangered sperm whales, and there are expanded protections for other at-risk species.
It may be a small step, but small steps add up to big consequences. Thank you to the Department of Interior for protecting whales and other marine mammals!
- Department of the Interior
Secretary Sally Jewell
Thanks for protecting whales and dolphins from the destructive noise made by seismic testing, aka airgun surveys, in the Gulf of Mexico. For decades, the marine wildlife of the Gulf has been subjected, day after day, week after week, to deafening noise in one location or another. Sperm whales in the Gulf are smaller in size than other populations, possibly due to the difficulty they face finding food because of the airgun noise. Your new rules limit this intrusion into their most important habitats. The fish, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles of the Gulf thank you.
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