Defend Gulf of Mexico whales from seismic airgun testing


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Action ended on February 6, 2023

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We’re grateful for your support.

What Was At Stake

Imagine an underwater blast so loud that it can be heard 2,500 miles away. This is the level of noise generated when oil companies fire airguns to blast the ocean floor with sound waves to find oil and gas deposits – and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico is once again under threat from these sonic attacks. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed to allow extensive seismic airgun surveys with minimal protections for marine animals. Take action today and let the NOAA know that marine life must be protected from seismic airgun surveys.

The noise would have serious and devastating impacts on marine mammals like the unique and endangered Gulf of Mexico whale, as well as other whale and dolphin species, which rely heavily on sound to communicate, navigate, and find prey. Flooding the ocean with seismic blasts louder than a rocket launch and hundreds of times louder than the noise level that would cause pain in the human ear – can inflict permanent hearing damage. Even at lower levels, this constant bombardment of industrial noise interferes with whales’ ability to survive.

Seismic airgun arrays are towed across vast swaths of ocean and fire every 12-16 seconds, up to 24 hours a day for weeks to months on end. This continuous firing would not only deafen and hurt marine animals, but it could also drive them away from vital habitats. We need far greater protection to prevent marine mammals from becoming unnecessary casualties of oil and gas exploration.

Among the species at greatest risk is the Gulf of Mexico whale, also known as “Rice’s whale.” In 2020, NOAA scientists found that oil and gas activities, including seismic surveys, found that oil and gas activities, including seismic surveys, would jeopardize the whales’ continued existence if allowed to proceed without sufficient protection.

No more than 50 Gulf of Mexico whales are thought to remain. It’s not too late. NOAA is accepting comments on its proposed regulations. Send a letter to stop this activity from harming whales in the Gulf of Mexico today!

An aerial photo of the Gulf of Mexico whale, swimming under the surface in bright blue waters.
The Gulf of Mexico whale is a member of the baleen whale family Balaenopteridae. With likely fewer than 100 individuals remaining, Rice's whales are one of the most endangered whales in the world. (NOAA)

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