Demand a Seismic Testing Ban


Seismic testing is used to find oil and gas reserves under the ocean floor. The process involves blasting the seafloor with high-powered airguns and measuring the echos [1]. The airgun noise penetrates deep into the ocean floor and relays data about what is under the surface [2].


Each airgun blast is 259 decibels – strong enough to kill a human. They are roughly 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine [3]. The ships tow multiple airguns at a time.

These blasts occur every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months.

The noise travels incredibly well through water and can be heard up to 4,000km away [4]. To put that in perspective, it’s like hearing the Sydney fireworks in Perth.


Marine animals rely heavily on their hearing. Sound is essential for communicating, mating, feeding and avoiding predators [5]. As a result of the continuous noise, marine life can suffer from hearing loss and even death. It also disrupts their mating and feeding habits, causes abandonment of habitat, and beach strandings [2]. As a result, seismic testing can have long term impacts on marine life population numbers.

Research has found that airgun blasts cause an increase in zooplankton mortality from 18 percent to 40-60 percent, up to 1.2 kilometer away from the range tested. The study also found that all larval krill in the range were killed after the air gun’s passage [5]. This means surviving marine animals may struggle to find food.

Once oil is found, there is a potential for a catastrophic oil spill. Exhibit the BP Horizon oil spill or Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The oil rig exploded in 2010 and the effects are still being felt today [6].

On top of this, there will be an increase in noise pollution from drilling and boat traffic, and an increase in pollution – all of which have the potential to fundamentally disrupt the marine environment.

Despite knowing the damaging impacts involved, seismic testing remains legal in Australia.

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Demand a ban on seismic testing by adding your name to the petition.