Today the National Marine Fisheries Service will authorize five companies to conduct seismic airgun blasting activities that will harm marine mammals like dolphins and whales in the Atlantic Ocean from Delaware to Florida.
Statement by Jane Davenport, Senior Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife:
“This decision couldn’t have come at a worse time for North Atlantic right whales, which have seen their numbers plummet to no more than 411 in recent years.
“Seismic blasting involves arrays of ship-towed large air guns that fire blasts of air toward the ocean floor every ten seconds around the clock for months at a time. The powerful sound waves these blasts generate are used to map potential offshore oil and gas deposits. The blasts can travel more than a thousand miles through the ocean, harming, deafening, and killing marine life from plankton at the base of the food web to the large whales at the top. The authorizations issued today are part of the Trump administration’s move to open Atlantic federal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling for the first time in decades.
“Seismic blasting poses unacceptable risks to vulnerable marine wildlife, especially the critically imperiled North Atlantic right whale. The species already faces effective extinction within a few short decades due to human activities. Right whale scientists are clear that the species simply cannot withstand the direct harm and habitat degradation through noise pollution that seismic blasting will cause. The future of right whales should not be sacrificed for the Trump administration’s ambitions for ‘energy dominance.’”