Arctic Faces Acoustic Double Whammy


Arctic Bowhead Whale By Life of The Sea

The remote Arctic Beaufort Sea, Simpson Lagoon, and Chukchi Sea are bracing themselves as Shell Oil, and possibly BP power towards those pristine waters in search of oil. If BP is awarded this permit both Shell Oil and BP will be doing seismic surveys during the same period in the Beaufort Sea for and estimated 50 days. Two of BP’s  ships will be firing air guns 24 hours 24 a day at dB levels of  >160dB to 230dB  flooding the shallow Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands with sound for several months Source.

Since the beginning of 2012, 3000 dolphins have washed ashore on Peruvian coastlines, “One theory is that powerful sound caused by oil exploration ships could have resulted in internal damage for the mammals, Carlos Yaipen Llanos, science director of the marine mammal rescue group Organización Científica para Conservación de Animales Acuáticos (ORCA), told the Peruvian news” source. Follow this link to see pictures of dolphin tissue samples taken and analyzed by Dr. Carlos Yaipen and released by BlueVoice.org.

Shell Oil has already received their Letter of Authorization (LOA) to begin oil exploration activities in the Beaufort Sea, Camden Bay and the Chukchi Sea:”The authorization for taking by harassment is limited to the following acoustic sources(or sources with comparable frequency and intensity) and from the following activities”:

This Authorization is valid from July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. Camden Bay, Beaufort Sea
(a). 8-airgun array with a total discharge volume of 760 in3
(b). continuous drill-ship sounds during active drilling operations;
(c). vessel sounds generated during active ice management or ice-breaking; source.

This Authorization is valid from July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. Camden Bay, Beaufort Sea
(a). 8-airgun array with a total discharge volume of760 in3
(b). continuous drill-ship sounds during active drilling operations;
(c). vessel sounds generated during active ice management or ice-breaking; (d).aircraft associated with marine mammal monitoring and support operations. source.

Simpson Lake Located in the Beaufort Sea

“BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. (BPXA) proposes to conduct a 3D ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic survey in the Simpson Lagoon area, Beaufort Sea, for an estimated 50 days of work during the open water period of approximately 1 July to 15 October 2012”source BP plans to use three seismic ships that will carry a total of 40 air guns some of which will  fire simultaneously for 24 hours a day. “Again, the advantage of source vessels alternating shots is that more data can be acquired in shorter time. Seismic data acquisition is a 24 hour per day operation”source.

Seismic Survey

Although Seismic Testing is often presented as benign just seeing and hearing the underwater explosions one can only imagine the damage that is caused at every level of ocean life. The ships are using 40 air-guns and more. The guns are firing the air guns simultaneously so the explosions are never ending for the 50 days of seismic tesing. Here is a video of a visual video of an airgun firing video. Here is an acoustic recording of a single underwater airgun firing recovering then firing again: listen now.

As the evidence supporting horrific devastation to the oceans and marine life due to seismic testing continues to compile surely the federal government can spare the Arctic region where so little is known about the ocean life. This is a place where commercial fishing is not allowed, Home to bowhead, Beluga and gray whales this is an area so sensitive that no commercial fishing has been allowed under National Marine Fisheries Ruling established in 2009 source.

Arctic Bowhead Whales Mother and Calve

What can you do? Send NOAA/NMFS an email asking  not to award BP the permit for a seismic survey in the Beaufort Ocean. Comments and information must be received no later than May 31, 2012. Comments should be addressed to: Tammy Adams, Acting Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service at ITP.guan@noaa.gov or 1315 East-WestHighway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is  source.

3 thoughts on “Arctic Faces Acoustic Double Whammy

  1. boom baby boom for drill baby drill……..this is disgraceful and to say it is neanderthal thinking is a gross insult to the neanderthals………

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