Seismic and the Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale
There has been great fluctuation in breeding over the years, ranging from fewer than a dozen in the 1980s and 1990s to more than 20 each year in the 2000s. The cause of these fluctuations is uncertain, however. Overfishing, particularly of cod, is thought to upset the North Atlantic ecosystem, effecting the planktonic prey of the whales. Collision with fishing vessels has been another source of mortality for the whales. Recently, climate change, military sonars and seismic surveys have come into concern regarding their relation to the lack of rise in population of the right whale.
While it was a concern that seismic surveys on the Atlantic coast might potentially harm the delicate balance of the North Atlantic right whale, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. In South Africa, South America, Australia and other areas where right whale populations are thriving, there is a long history of seismic surveys. The G&G industry is committed to conducting seismic operations in an environmentally responsible manner and incorporated mitigation measures to further reduce any potential risk to the whale including using around-the-clock visual and passive acoustic monitoring to maximize detection and avoidance of the whales and other marine mammals. These measures help to ensure the safety of the North Atlantic right whale in their natural habitat. The industry also invests significant resources to advance understanding of interaction between exploration and production activities and marine life. Learn more at www.soundandmarinelife.org.