WDC: Protecting whales from seismic airgun surveying in Argentinian waters
Research indicates that a great whale is responsible for the sequestration of an average of 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year over the course of its lifetime. Protecting whale populations is therefore not only important for the biodiversity of our ocean ecosystems. It also provides a nature-based solution to the Climate Crisis.
In 2018, the Argentine government began tendering for hydrocarbon exploration (seismic airgun surveys) in Argentina’s national waters. These airgun surveys can lead to hearing loss for great whales and dolphins which affect their ability to communicate, feed, and migrate.
An initial lack of bidders for exploration permits in the areas close to Banco Burdwood Marine Park gave WDC the opportunity to initiate a project with Argentinian authorities to delineate a mitigation zone around the 28,000km2 Banco Burdwood Marine Park to minimize the potential impacts of seismic noise in the protected area.
They have conducted acoustic recordings from seismic survey activity and modelled distances seismic survey travels in the Marine Protected Area. Results will be provided to Argentine conservation authorities in order to design and implement effective mitigation measures in the future. Final recommendations and results of this project could be applied to other areas with similar conditions.