Grist, June 21, 2013
Oil companies will curb use of air guns that torment marine mammals
By John Upton
Whales, dolphins, and manatees will finally enjoy some peace and quiet in parts of the Gulf of Mexico following a legal settlement that will restrict the use of oil industry air guns.
As if dodging oil spills anddead zones in the Gulf isn’t bad enough, the marine mammals there are also subjected to deafening pulses of noise fired from boats searching for new oil fields to drill. “These super-loud airblasts hurt whales and dolphins,” said Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “The seismic surveys sound like an underwater explosion, causing deafness and stress that can disrupt whales’ behaviors and even lead to strandings.”
The legal settlement filed Thursday with a federal court will block the use of the sonar guns in parts of the Gulf until the end of 2015. It will also add manatees to the list of species whose presence requires an automatic silencing of sonar blasts. From the Associated Press:
The agreement should help the Gulf’s wildlife hear themselves think — and stay alive.
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