Oceana: Bradley Beach town council takes action concerning Seismic Airgun Blasts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 12, 2014

Contact: Nancy Pyne 202.467.1903 or npyne@oceana.org

Seismic Airgun Testing Threatens Marine Life and Coastal Economies

Bradley Beach, NJ – Last night, the Bradley Beach town council met to discuss the proposed use of seismic airguns, which are currently being considered to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching all the way from the southern tip of New Jersey to Florida.

They unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the use of seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Seismic airguns shoot extremely loud and repeated blasts of sound, each 100,000 times more intense than what one would experience if standing near a jet engine. The Department of the Interior estimates this testing to injure or kill 138,500 marine mammals like dolphins and whales. Estimates include injury to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, of which there are less than 500 left worldwide.

Below is a statement from Oceana’s Grassroots Manager, Nancy Pyne:

“I commend Mayor Englestad and the Bradley Beach Borough Council for adopting this resolution. Seismic airgun testing is the first step toward offshore drilling, and could be disastrous for New Jersey and other East Coast states.

Seismic airguns emit one of the loudest man-made sounds in the oceans. To this day, we’re still learning about their true impact, including how far their sound travels and how they affect marine animals, especially when they occur every 10 seconds for days, to weeks on end. The Department of Interior itself estimates that seismic airgun testing could injure or possibly kill as many as 138,500 dolphins, whales and other marine mammals.

Seismic airguns are loud enough to harm fish eggs and larvae, and scare fish away from important fishing grounds. In fact, the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council called on President Obama to oppose the use of seismic airguns in the Atlantic last year. We have also seen their impact off the coasts of Namibia and Australia which has caused declines in tuna catch and decreasing productivity for the scallop fishery.

Millions of people flock to the beaches of New Jersey every year to walk the boardwalks and lie in the sand-my family included. We can’t put our marine resources and coastal communities at risk by allowing seismic testing off the East Coast. We encourage other coastal mayors to speak out against seismic blasting and enact similar proposals in their communities. ”

Last week, right on the heels of the Obama administration releasing the final version of its proposal to allow seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Carolina Beach enacted a proposal opposing seismic testing off the coast of North Carolina. In addition, more than 100 scientists called on President Obama and his administration to wait on new acoustic guidelines for marine mammals, which are currently in development by the National Marine Fisheries Service. These guidelines are 15 years in the making and aim to provide a better understanding of how marine mammals are impacted by varying levels of manmade sound as well as demonstrate the measures that are needed to protect them.

In September, Oceana delivered more than 100,000 petitions opposing seismic airguns to Tommy Beaudreau, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Fifty members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have also called on President Obama to stop the use of seismic airguns.

For more information about Oceana’s efforts to stop seismic airguns, including an infographic and animation about how they work, please visit www.oceana.org/seismic.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.

Nancy Pyne
Grassroots Manager, Climate and Energy Campaign

OCEANA | Protecting the World’s Oceans
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Special thanks to Richard Charter

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