Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rutgers Study Set to Blast 26 Times More Marine Mammals

The newly issued Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) for the Rutgers seismic study is now 26 times worse than originally proposed! The Rutgers University study is allowed any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance to 18,457 marine mammals including 18,321 dolphins and their infant calves. While the original numbers proposed in 2014 was 694! New Jersey elected officials are taking action to defend our ocean and marine life:

  •    US Senator Booker wrote to Dr. Sullivan, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, formally requesting that the National Marine Fisheries Service withdraw the IHA needed for the Rutgers seismic study to legally harass marine mammals and reopen the comment period so that concerned organizations and the public are given a meaningful opportunity to review this survey.
  • ·         NJ Senate President Sweeney and US Representative Pallone, authored a letter directed to Rutgers University President Barchi, urging him cancel the study or, at minimum, schedule it for outside the peak summer months and revise the plans to be less harmful to marine life.
  • ·         COA has written a letter to Rutgers University Board of Governor’s urging them to cancel the Rutgers seismic study, or alternatively conduct the study in the winter months when less life and livelihoods would be affected. We have also sent a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service to requesting them to reopen the notice and comment period for the issued IHA.

The relentless seismic blasts from air-gun arrays at 246 decibels every 5-6 seconds, 24 hours a day for 30 days can cause serious harm to marine life.
  • ·         Harassment of over 32 species, mostly bottlenose dolphins, 12,531,—including newborn calves.
  • ·         6 endangered species such as the northern right whale, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales. 
  • ·         5 species of endangered sea turtles including the Kemps Ridley—the most endangered sea turtle on the planet!
  • ·         Studies show that fish can also be injured or scared off by seismic blasts.
  • ·         Over 230 square miles of ocean will be impacted including prime fishing locations such as, The Fingers, Barnegat Ridge, The Lillian Wreck, and 28 Mile Wreck could be impacted. 

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