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Group Publishes Guidelines for Minimizing Impact of Sizemic Testing on Whales



A right whale near a large ship in the Bay of Fundy, which is their principal summer feeding waters. (Kara Mahoney Robinson/New England Aquarium)The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company has capped off a six year study on the impact of seismic testing on whales and produced guidelines they believe will allow for responsible seismic testing by natural gas and oil companies. Currently, seismic testing interferes with the whale population which rely entirely upon sound for communication. The group is aiming to allow for economic progress that is in better harmony with the whales. Two Canadians were involved in the study.

As it currently stands, no seismic test can be conducted if whales are spotted in the area. That practice is specifically designed to prevent physical harm to the whales, but what this new study seeks to do is reduce the behavioral impact on the whale population. The sounds from a test can adversely affect whales causing them to leave their natural habitat and undergo stress.

Essentially, what the group would like to see is an expanded practice of halting seismic testing not only for whales at physical risk from the test, but also if they are within range to have their behavior impacted. The report also suggests lower volume seismic tests to reduce the behavioral impact. One critic of the report believes that it is not practical to implement the findings in Canada as whale populations here are not specifically bound to a habitat as they are in Sakhalin.

on the web :

Reduce seismic testing noises to protect whales, study recommends


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