Senate Inquiry Into Seismic Testing

** Submissions now closed - stay posted for more

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

** Submissions are now closed – stay posted for more

(The Senate hearing will be held in May 2020.)

Scroll down for more information.

Create Your Submission (More Information Below):

Submission to the Senate Inquiry: Impact of Seismic Testing on Fisheries and the Marine Environment
Express your deep concern about seismic testing (see below 1-5)
Address one or more of the criteria a-d to the left.
Make it personal - How do these plans impact your life or livelihood, your environment, family, your community? Why do you love our coast? (see examples below): marine animals, whale and dolphin watching, ecosystem impacts, surfing, fishing, the coast for wellbeing and relaxation, commercial fisher, tourism operator...


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
    be impacted.
  • 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
    underwater monitoring.
  • 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?

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