Seismic Airgun Blasting - Oceana USA

Climate and Energy

Seismic Airgun Blasting

Seismic airgun blasting threatens marine life, coastal communities, and local economies.



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 airgun blasting in search of oil and gas is shortsighted and dangerous. Noise from airguns can disturb, injure, or kill marine animals from zooplankton, the base of the food web, to large whales. Seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean. During seismic surveys for oil and gas, ships pull large arrays of airguns that release loud pressurized blasts of air through the ocean and into the seafloor. The sounds seismic airguns produce can travel underwater up to 2,500 miles. Blasts are repeated as often as every 10 seconds for days, weeks, or months at a time. Airgun noise can reduce catch rates for fish and disrupt essential behaviors in marine mammals, like dolphins and whales. For marine animals, sound plays an essential role in feeding, mating, communicating, and avoiding predators. We will not stop in the fight to protect our coast from the expansion of dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and exploration. This page shows the groundswell of opposition to expanded offshore drilling activities.