17 January, 2018 17 January, 2018
Sean Meets

Seismic Sea Sickness

Whales, possibly the most irie animal on the planet. Gooi them some dreadlocks and you would be forgiven for mistaking these ocean wanderers as Bob Marley reincarnate, shit these homies even sing. You would also be forgiven for thinking that humans, despite a nation or two, leave these peaceful giants in peace. Well, sorry to burst your underwater bubble bru but you’re wrong!

Familiar with a process called seismic surveying? Naught, didn’t think so! In a nutshell seismic surveying is a process used in ocean exploration to produce detailed images of local geology to source the location and size of possible oil and gas reservoirs. Sound waves are bounced off underground rock formations, and the waves that reflect back to the surface are captured by recording sensors for later analyses. So, what’s the big fuss? Well if you’re a whale, dolphin, turtle, cod, scallop or even plankton (not the oue from SpongeBob) to name a few, then these seismic blasts are enough to make you beach yourself. No for real, there have been documented cases of whales stranding themselves to escape the sound waves produced by the surveys. Incase you didn’t realise how important whales were for the ocean, no wait our climate, then open your eyes and blow your mind with this quick vid:


Effectively these seismic survey ‘blasts’ are like firing a gun off in your office every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for months at a time. To get an idea of what these blasts sound like have a listen here. Scientists have proven that seismic blasts can interrupt the communication, reproduction, navigation and eating habits essential to the survival of marine life. In 2016 a seismic survey was conducted between Durban and Richards Bay, spilling over into whale migration season. During this time, a record number of whale stranding’s were recorded off the east coast of South Africa. Coincidence? Nah dude, no ways. 

Now, lets get down to the nitty gritty. In South Africa, due to Section 39 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act being pulled, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for petroleum exploration is no longer required. Expressed differently this means that the oil and gas industry both monitors and polices itself.

John Wilkinson

Photographer: John Wilkinson

Now, this is where the Zag team, not to mention our oceans critters need your help. A petition has been started in efforts to reinforce an appeal process that has been put in place to enact regulations specific to stringent mitigation of seismic exploration of our coastline. The petition aims to prevent petroleum industries from conducting activities during the known breeding and migration periods of cetaceans, fish and turtles. To find out more about the proposed Sungu seismic survey for Plett/Cape St Francis and what you can do then click here, time to speak up for those who cant. Oath every animal in the ocean will smaak!

1 Comment

  1. Marco
    3 February, 2018 at 8:24 am · Reply

    Stop petrol research in the ocean…in the waters anywhere in the world, doesn’t it ring a bell what happened in the Gulf of Mexico? Just do it on earth and it’s already bad. We talk about environment and here we go do all but correct. South Africa has so much resources, just sell for petrol instead for the governments pockets !

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