Senate Inquiry Into Seismic Testing
** Closing date for submissions extended to 16th December.
A Senate Inquiry has been established into the:
Impact of Seismic Testing on Fisheries and the Marine Environment.
With particular reference to
a. the body of science and research into the use of seismic testing;
b. the regulation of seismic testing in both Commonwealth and state waters;
c. the approach taken to seismic testing internationally; and
d. any other related matters
Closing date for submissions is 21 November 2019.
(The Senate hearing will be held in May 2020.)
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Create Your Submission (More Information Below):
1. Impact to marine environment.
- Seismic testing consists of intense and explosive underwater airgun
blasts, that fire simultaneously every 3-10 seconds for 24 hours a day
continuously for days or weeks or months on end to locate the best drilling targets for oil or
- Seismic blasts can be 200-256 decibels, can cause barotrauma and deafness, and can be
- Are known to be the loudest human made noise in the ocean
- Seismic testing is known to stress, harm, deafen or cause death to marine animals, damage
our living ocean and entire marine ecosystem.
- Seismic testing/underwater noise: known scientific facts;
Known to kill plankton 1km away
Known to cause barotrauma (damage to organs from sound wave pressure)
Known to stress and deafen whales and dolphins and stop whale song, hindering
communication and navigation
Known to cause malformations in scallops
Known to impact on lobsters
Known to impact on other marine creatures such as penguins and fish
Linked to turtle deaths
Linked to whale and dolphin stranding
Fishermen report loss of catch for years after seismic testing
- Sound is known to travel for hundreds or thousands of kilometres in the ocean
- Our coast has a rich biodiversity (some endangered species) all year round, including many
whales, dolphins, turtles, seals, dugong, sea horses, fish and penguins and sea birds, that will
- There is no safe time to conduct seismic testing
2. Poor regulation of seismic testing
- Seismic testing has been imposed on our coast by the federal government despite opposition
from the NSW State Government and local councils of Newcastle, Central Coast and Northern
Beaches – all have opposed seismic testing.
- There was inadequate community consultation
- There is currently no mandatory monitoring before or after seismic testing, in contradiction to
international standards; All observations were made above the surface of the water, with no
- There were insufficient “mitigation measures” to protect marine life from the impacts, contrary to
international standards. These involved a soft ramp up “to allow all fauna to leave the area” and
2 marine mammal observers visually searching for marine mammals
- The independent regulator appears to facilitate oil and gas exploration instead of protecting the
- The process does not allow legitimate concerns from fishers and community.
- There is no consideration of it being a precursor to oil and gas exploration
- There is inadequate preparation in the event of oil spill
3. Damage to our coast is unacceptable
- Seismic testing is a precursor for offshore mining.
- The risk of oil spill while drilling will damage our beautiful coast forever.
- Risking our coast and marine animals for gas that we do not need (2/3 of gas is exported) is
not acceptable to the community
- Industrialisation of our coast, (oil and gas rigs, drilling) is unacceptable
- PEP 11 (petroleum permit 11 is 4,500 square km of ocean from Manly to Newcastle, in some
parts 5.5 km to shore.
- Plans are to drill for gas, but if oil is encountered the risk of oil spills pose catastrophic risk to
the entire coast of Australia and beyond.
- Methane from gas is 84 TIMES more powerful at destabilising to the climate than carbon
dioxide. We are already experiencing climate damage: extreme weather, storm surges,
droughts, coral bleaching, sea level rise, (local areas (eg Swansea) are preparing for sea level
rise.) The gas fields will accelerate this.
- Leakage from gas fields during drilling and for the life of the project cannot be measured or
contained: climate damage and health risks from methane.
- In the era of climate damage and in this climate emergency we should be investing in a just
transition to renewable energy (solar, hydrogen…) not offshore fossil fuel mining
4. Threat to local fisheries industries
- Fishermen report loss of catch following seismic testing
- Millions of dollars worth of scallops lost due to seismic testing
- Global opposition of seismic testing from fishers including Norway, Ghana, South Africa, New
Zealand, Canada; an “assault on our livelihoods”
- Compromises seafood industry, access to fresh local seafood and associated restaurants
- Successful banning of seismic testing around the world due to fisheries concerns
5. Threat to tourism and international reputation
- East coast of NSW are world renowned whale and dolphin watching tourism areas
- Multiple cruise ships and international tourist destinations
- Multi-million dollar tourist industry
- Seismic testing impacts, gas field or potential oil spill – catastrophic effect on tourism – why risk it
to export gas?