JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Oceana will be holding a public forum at the University of North Florida on Monday night to discuss the use of seismic airguns and their potential harm to marine life.
The forum will be held at 6 p.m. at the Adam W. Herbert University Center. The panel will include moderator James Taylor of the UNF Environmental Center; speaker Matthew Huelsenbeck, a scientist at Oceana; speaker Julie Richmond of the UNF Biology department; speaker Erin Handy, chair of First Coast Surfrider; and speaker Brian Paradise of the Northeast Florida Sierra Club.
Seismic guns, which are used to search for oil and gas deposits in the ocean, are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine, according to a release from Oceana.
Citing government estimates, Oceana reports that 138,500 whales and dolphins will be injured or killed as a result of the use of the guns.
"I think it's fair to say that to a marine mammal, it must be like being in a war zone," Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's marine mammal project, told the Washington Post in August. "Every 10 to 12 seconds, boom! ... And then you combine that with [noise from shipping and other activity] - it's just unimaginable."
The use of seismic guns, Oceana said, puts 730,000 jobs in the "blast zone" -- from Delaware to Florida -- in industries such as tourism and fishing at risk.
Meanwhile, the International Association of Geophysical Contractors reported in a Friday release that seismic airguns were not the cause of more than 100 whales being stranded off of Madagascar in 2008. The IAGC argues that seismic survey updates are needed and can aid job growth.
"The Atlantic OCS (outer continental shelf) is estimated to hold at least 3.3 billion barrels of oil and 31.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Seismic surveys are necessary in the Atlantic to update these estimates as the last surveys were conducted 30 years ago. Atlantic OCS resource development is projected to support over 160,000 jobs 15 years after initial lease sales, fluctuating between 140,000 and 160,000 jobs thereafter."
Oceana also plans to hold similar forums in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. For more information, visit www.oceana.org/seismic.
First Coast News