Greenpeace has been accused of “lying for financial gain” as it fights seismic surveying off the New Zealand coast.
Seismic surveying involves the shooting of compressed air to generate an underground map but it is a process protested against by Greenpeace, which fears the sounds are a danger to marine mammals. …
But Victoria University geophysics and tectonics professor Rupert Sutherland, who has studied the science and worked on seismic surveys, said Greenpeace’s campaign was “essentially lying for financial gain”.
He knew of no evidence that conclusively showed there was a single incident of a whale or dolphin being directly injured by seismic reflection vessels.
For each survey, hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent on preventing and recording direct injury, something he said didn’t happen. That money would be better spent looking into whether there was any long-term harm to marine mammals – which had been under researched, he said.
Climate change researchers used seismic surveying and drilling to collect sediment cores to look at climate records, he said.
“The current strategy of Greenpeace makes it expensive or impossible to conduct legitimate research in the ocean, including climate change research.”
And Greenpeace’s response:
Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock rejected the suggestion Greenpeace was lying and said its campaigns were based on well documented scientific evidence.
Greenpeace’s campaign did not make claims of direct impact to marine mammals, and the effects were chronic rather than immediate, she said.
“Seismic surveys have been shown to disrupt essential activities for whales, including foraging and reproduction.
“There could also be an increased risk of calves being separated from mothers… Exposure to repeated loud blasts from a seismic survey can mask the sounds they rely on and lead to stress, disorientation, changes in foraging and nursing behaviours, and, in extreme cases, direct physical damage.”
Note the weasel words of could be and can. That means they have no evidence.
GNS marine geophysicist Stuart Henrys, who was on the committee that wrote the 2012 Department of Conservation code regulating noise from seismic reflection vessels, said Greenpeace should have an open mind about noise in the ocean.
“Seismic reflection is a tool that’s used by the industry. It’s well regulated, and there’s research to underpin that regulation.
“Ship noise is continuous and at a much higher volume than seismic reflection vessels, and the accumulated sound of a busy shipping lane is far greater than seismic ship noise,” he said.
So maybe Greenpeace should call for all ships to be banned!