“ Imagine a space ship is over your village and it’s sending explosions down to every 10 seconds, driving everybody crazy. The choice is you either leave or die. This is the whales’ world. Their social network is destroyed, their world seriously compromised, their immune and reproductive systems impacted by stress created by noise. Their acoustic world is 10% of what it should be.”
Dr Christopher Clark, Director Bioacoustic Program, Cornell University.
Underwater noise is deadly.
Noisy oceans deafen marine mammals, the lungs of whales and dolphins hemorrhage, communication between mothers and calves is blurred, swim bladders in fish explode. Noisy oceans inhibit life.
One of the US scientists AFA works with is a recognised world expert. He believes that noise impacts are capable of destroying all trophic levels of the marine environment. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthic organisms, crustaceans, coral larvae, fish, dugongs, turtles, as well as cetaceans.
In the US and Europe, this is an issue engaging top levels of governments. It’s not only the oil and gas industry who are responsible for noisy oceans with seismic exploration, dredging, pile driving, but also the navy with their sonars, depth charges, underwater explosions and more. Military exercises are acknowledged as likely to cause mortality and /or injury to thousands of whales and dolphins. The pressure generated by underwater noise can cause hemorrhaging in the ears and lungs of marine mammals. Beaked whales are particularly vulnerable.
Fish with swim bladders can be severely impacted, noise also affects fish larvae and eggs. The impacts on the prey of cetaceans is completely ignored.
Last year, Environment Minister Greg Hunt passed over his powers of approval, monitoring and compliance under the EPBC Act to the resource industry. This was the first so-called bilateral agreement and the powers given to the industry are nothing short of mind-boggling.
NOPSEMA is the agency now responsible for offshore seismic activities. An advisory board made up of industry representatives past and present now controls the approval processes. There is almost no public interest recognised or allowed to have inputs.
In other words, the resource industry is now self regulating and almost the entire Australian coastline is now its area of operation.
The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is excluded from the hand-over to the resource industry. However, the sheer volume of noise which will be generated by LNG tankers, and coal vessels turning the Reef into a super highway will severely impact marine life on the Reef.
There is virtually zero consideration of these impacts by either the Queensland or Federal governments in spite of extensive lobbying by AFA.
NOISE IMPACTS INCLUDE:-
- ORGAN DAMAGE
- PERMANENT THRESHOLD SHIFT
- TEMPORARY THRESHOLD SHIFT
- BEHAVIOURAL RESPONSE
- CHANGES IN MIGRATION ROUTE
- IMMUNE DISORDERS