Seismic Surveys and Sharks: A Bad Combination - Oceana USA
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September 23, 2014

Seismic Surveys and Sharks: A Bad Combination

Proposed seismic surveys in both Europe and the U.S. are threatening a range of marine animals and important habitat. In this blog post, originally posted on Oceana in Europe’s blog, some of the many shark species at risk from oil exploration in the Gulf of Valencia are presented. Take a look below to learn more.

By Natividad Sánchez

It is said that the Mediterranean Sea is the world’s most dangerous place for sharks and rays, as four out of 10 species are threatened. But along with the threat of overfishing, there is another factor that puts these wonderful creatures at risk: oil exploration. As you might know, Oceana in Europe made a list of endangered species living in the area affected by the proposed Cairn Energy oil exploration project in the Gulf of Valencia. Around 180 species are affected in total, and along with some fish, the most vulnerable species are actually sharks.

Threatened species of shark in the Mediterranean Sea include the common thresher (Alopias vulpinus), the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), the gulper shark (Centrophorus granulosus),the basking shark (C. maximus), the common shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), the porbeagle (Lamna nasus), the dogfish (Galeorhinus galeus), the blue shark (Prionace glauca), the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna spp.), the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), the white skate (Rostroraja alba), the common skate (Dipturus batis). They have all been documented by both Spanish and international regulation.

In some cases, the status of these species is particularly bad in the Mediterranean. For example, the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the common thresher shark as critically endangered, and claims the same about the porbeagle, a species which has virtually disappeared from the Mediterranean Sea.

The very last thing these amazing animals need is more interference from humans. Therefore, the noise of seismic surveys is certainly not a good idea, if we want to keep sharks in our ecosystem.

Click here to learn more about Oceana in Europe’s effort to stop offshore drilling and seismic airguns in the Gulf of Valencia and elsewhere, and here to learn more about Oceana’s efforts in North America to protect wildlife from this practice.