Ocean Noise Reduction - GlobalSaving marine life could be as easy as turning down the volume
(Cape Town, South Africa – 30 November 2021) – Conservationists have blasted plans for a seismic survey by fossil fuel corporation, Shell—due to begin offshore along a pristine section of the South African coastline on Wednesday, December 1.
The gas and oil survey entails discharging underwater sound waves from air guns every 10 seconds for the duration of the exploration, scheduled to last between four to five months. The blasting covers over 6,000 km² of ocean about 20 kms offshore.
“South Africa’s Wild Coast is a pristine section of coastline of enormous importance. The impact on all marine life including whales, dolphins, sharks, squid and endangered species like loggerhead turtles and even penguins could be devastating,” said Neil Greenwood, Regional Director for Southern Africa for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
“High levels of ocean noise from shipping, oil and gas exploration, naval sonar training and construction dramatically diminish the ability of marine life to communicate, feed, breed and survive. IFAW urges the Government to reconsider Shell’s planned survey.”
The relatively warm Agulhas Current, which flows south along the east coast of South Africa, creates an ecosystem that contributes to a vibrant fisheries sector including supporting artisanal fishers and supporting the Wild Coast’s vibrant tourism industry.
Greenwood said if drilling proves viable, it poses a threat to the entire marine environment and coastline further south.
“An oil spill in this fast flowing current will be catastrophic, destroying marine life and the livelihoods of communities. It is prudent to remember the Deepwater Horizon spill in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in billions of dollars of damage to natural resources. Serving shareholder interests above those of communities and wildlife is not a feasible—or sensible—choice,” Greenwood commented.
“The South African Government needs to honour its commitments to climate change and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. Surveying for oil and gas is not honouring that commitment and only serves multi-nationals’ drive for profit—and at what cost to South Africa?”