For Immediate Release

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Dustin Cranor, 202.341.2267, 954.348.1314 (cell) or dcranor@oceana.org

Leading Scientists Set the Record Straight on Seismic Airgun Blasting in the Atlantic: 'Seismic Activity is Likely to Have Significant, Long-lasting, and Widespread Impacts'

WASHINGTON - Today, 75 leading marine scientists sent a letter to President Obama on the impacts of seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, stating that “the magnitude of the proposed seismic activity is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammal populations in the region, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which approximately only 500 remain.”

The letter, which was led by scientists at Cornell University, New England Aquarium and Duke University, urges President Obama to reject the Department of the Interior’s analysis and its decision to introduce seismic oil and gas surveys in the Atlantic.

Oceana campaign director Claire Douglass applauded the letter and released the following statement:

“We applaud these scientists for sounding the alarm on an outdated technology that risks the Atlantic coastline, including its fisheries, economies and marine life.

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If there was ever any doubt about the impacts of seismic airgun blasts to marine life, this letter should end that discussion for good.

The threats of seismic airguns are real and unless we stop it they are coming soon to the Atlantic coast. The government’s own analysis states that seismic blasting could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals like dolphins and whales, while disturbing the vital activities of as many as 13.5 million more.

In addition to the clear science this letter represents, the Obama Administration should take note of the growing opposition along the East Coast. To date, more than 300 local, state and federal officials, 37 coastal communities, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce and the Dare County, North Carolina tourism board have all publically opposed or voiced concern over the use of seismic airguns off the East Coast. Additionally, more than 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations as well as The Billfish Foundation, The International Game Fish Association, the Southeastern Fisheries Association and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council have also publically opposed the use of seismic airguns in the Atlantic.

It’s not too late. We can stop seismic airguns and protect the Atlantic coast for future generations.”

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