Seismic testing…Where have all the fish gone?

Last month my opinion editorials on the impact of seismic testing for offshore oil ran in the The Greenville News and Statehouse Report.  The focus of those pieces was primarily on the harm the exploratory process has on ocean mammals.

Now we have a study on the effect of a 2014 seismic testing survey on fish that use a nearby reef off the North Carolina coast.

Ms. Avery Paxton was part of the research team that used microphones and cameras to document the impact. According to a story in the Carteret County News-Times:

Ms. Paxton said that noise levels at the reef, which are normally reserved to a few crackling sounds attributed to certain shrimp species and other marine life, were “between a rock band and an airplane” during the surveys.

The results were cataclysmic for this vital fish habitat that, like most reefs, is a place where fish feed, escape predators and use as a nursery. The number of fish at the reef dropped 78% while the seismic testing was in process.

The study was not able to say where the fish went or if they came back after the seismic testing. But it is clear that seismic testing is destructive to fish and their ability to survive with sustained airgun blasting that would take place in the Atlantic if the exploration is approved.

This would mean dramatic reductions of catches for commercial fishing. Not only would this bring economic hardship to this industry but also higher prices for the consumers.  All this to benefit the few owners of seismic testing vessels and Big Oil that might want to destroy our vibrant Atlantic Coast economies with offshore drilling.

This is why over 35,000 businesses and over 500,000 commercial fishing families support the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) in its efforts to block seismic testing and offshore drilling.

Business owners who want to support BAPAC’s efforts, email me at


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