Calming the waves: using legislation to protect marine life from seismic surveys

Image: Flickr, Federico Lukkini

Seismic surveys, which are conducted during oil and gas exploration, produce low-frequency high-intensity noise. These surveys have been shown to negatively impact marine fauna around the world to varying degrees.

Operation Phakisa is a South African government initiative created to unlock the ocean’s economic potential while maintaining environmental integrity. It aims to do this by increasing productivity in several sectors, including oil and gas exploration. South Africa, which is home to unique and diverse marine faunal species, needs to increase its efforts to protect them from acoustic pollution during seismic surveys. One way to do this is by forming an independent regulatory board to create and implement a legislative framework delineating best practice guidelines using current scientific information.