Seismic Airgun Testing
Seismic Airguns: An Ocean Threat
Seismic airgun blasting is a loud, dangerous and disruptive method used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor.
Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Their use can be very harmful to marine life. Oceana works hard to prevent the dangerous practice of seismic airgun blasting, which is the first step toward offshore drilling.
Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep beneath the ocean floor. The airguns are so loud that they can disturb, injure and even kill marine life. They can also harm commercial fisheries and disrupt coastal economies. These blasts are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks at a time. Seismic airgun blasting could injure as many as 138,000 whales and dolphins and some could be killed. It will also disturb millions more, according to government estimates.
Seismic airguns are towed behind ships and shoot loud blasts of compressed air through the water that travel miles into the seabed, which reflect back information about buried oil and gas deposits. These blasts harm marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and other wildlife.
Oceana is working to halt the use of seismic airguns, and stop the expansion of dangerous offshore drilling.
The following map shows the groundswell of opposition to seismic blasting in East Coast states.
Seismic blasts could injure 138,000 marine mammals
Watch: The Real Story on Seismic Blasts
Proposed Area for Seismic Blasting
Report: A Deaf Whale is a Dead Whale
What Oceana Does
Preventing Seismic Blasting
Oceana works hard to prevent the use of seismic airguns and the practice of offshore drilling in U.S. waters and overseas. The U.S. Atlantic coast is currently in harm’s way. According to DOI’s own estimates, which used outdated science and likely underestimated the impacts, seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic could injure over 138,000 whales and dolphins and disturb 13 million more. There are about 450 North Atlantic right whales left today and they live and give birth in the area of the proposed blast. This critically endangered species could be harmed by airgun use in the Atlantic, especially near its calving habitat off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.
Seismic blasts can displace fish stocks and decrease catch rates, putting these fisheries and those whose livelihoods depend on them at risk. We advocate in Congress and the Administration for clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind, rather than dirty and dangerous fossil fuels. Wind is clean, unlimited and (unlike oil) guaranteed not to spill—making it the clear choice when it comes to energy. Offshore wind also has the potential to provide more jobs and energy to East Coast citizens.