Fishery Group Comes Out Against Seismic Surveys

Jun 23, 2017

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the Trump Administration to slow its push for offshore oil and gas developments on the East Coast. (Scroll down to read the letter sent by the organization to the Department of the Interior.)

An Executive Order signed in April urges oil exploration in the mid and south Atlantic. Currently, five companies are seeking permits to conduct what are called seismic surveys in these areas. 

Those surveys fire powerful sound waves into the ocean floor. Then, surveyors listen to the echoes to detect oil reserves.

Scientists increasingly worry those sound waves disturb whales and fish. A study published this Wednesday in the journal Nature says the surveys kill off zooplankton, a cornerstone of the ocean food chain. 

Thomas Nies is Executive Director of the New England Fishery Management Council. His organization has spoken out about the surveys, because of concerns they'll affect fisheries here. "We're concerned about seismic surveys. The council isn't convinced that we have enough information on what their impacts are across a wide range of species."

A public comment period for the offshore permits ends in two weeks.