Seismic airgun testing is currently being considered for oil and gas exploration along the Atlantic Coast from Delaware to Florida. This testing involves shooting loud blasts of compressed air through the ocean and miles under the seafloor every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks on end. The blasts are so loud and constant they can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of vital behaviors such as mating and feeding and even beach strandings and deaths.
According to the Department of the Interior’s own assessment, seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean would:
- Injure as many as 138,500 dolphins and whales
- Injure as many as nine critically endangered North Atlantic right whales (only 361 left worldwide)
- Disrupt nesting for threatened loggerhead sea turtles
- Displace commercially valuable species and decrease catch rates for coastal fisheries