Hilcorp’s seismic air gun blasting program started in full force this past weekend, with the seismic vessel Polarcus Alima running transects across some of the most important fish and whale habitat in Lower Cook Inlet.
You can get an update on Hilcorp’s daily seismic blasting plans here, and you can call-in every morning at 10:00 AM to 907.777.8599 to hear updates from Hilcorp and to report your fishing or other activities in the area.
While industry and government refuse to fund studies to understand the effects of seismic guns on our marine ecosystem – because they do not want us to know the impacts – a growing body of scientific literature shows the relentless pounding of seismic air guns harms all levels of the marine food chain, from plankton to fish to whales.
A fisherman in Newfoundland aptly described the effects of seismic air gun blasting:
For the past several weeks, Lower Cook Inlet has witnessed especially high concentrations of humpback, fin and orca whales, and fishermen report the areas in and adjacent to the seismic testing zone are some of the most productive right now for halibut and king salmon. The area is also important habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet Beluga whale.
On Saturday, September 14, local whale researchers ventured into Lower Cook Inlet to better-understand Hilcorp’s activities. They used a hydrophone to record the sound of the seismic air gun blasting. The researchers made this recording approximately 4 miles away from the sound source/seismic vessel.
Now, imagine a giant boombox parked under your bedroom window, with these loud percussions going off every 5-10 seconds, day and night, over 4-6 weeks.
Would you come out of that experience unscathed? Would your appetite be normal? How about your sex life? What if you had to have your wits about you to make a life or death decision?
This is what the fish, crab, shellfish and whales that cannot escape this blasting are now encountering. And it’s easy to hear how such unrelenting noise will negatively impact their feeding, their mating and their ability to escape prey.
Think about that when you close your eyes tonight.