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!