Topsail Beach, NC (Press Release) — Topsail Beach stood up and said no to the use of seismic airguns off its coast Wednesday evening. The Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the use of controversial seismic airguns, which are currently being considered to look for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida.
“We commend the Topsail Beach town council for passing this important resolution,” said Randy Sturgill, Campaign Organizer at Oceana. “Topsail Beach is taking a big stand by refusing to allow their coastline to be turned into a blast zone.”
According to the Department of the Interior (DOI), these dynamite-like blasts are expected to injure and possibly kill 138,244 marine mammals like dolphins and whales along the East Coast and disturb the necessary activities of millions more. One species of particular concern is the North Atlantic right whale, the rarest large whale species, of which there are only approximately 500 left worldwide.
“Seismic airgun blasting would threaten the health of ocean ecosystems and the resources they provide to coastal communities like Topsail Beach,” Sturgill continued. “In North Carolina alone, the GDP from ocean-based tourism and recreation is approximately $983 million. Between tourism, recreation, and commercial and recreational fishing, the ocean supports over 56,000 jobs for hard-working North Carolinians. The Topsail Beach town council took a major step in protecting the health of its community and economy today. They could see the gamble is much to great and the need for more scientific data is needed before moving forward ”
Following the release of the federal government’s final proposal in late February, 10 other coastal towns have passed local resolutions and letters of both concern and opposition to their use. Cocoa Beach, FL, Carolina Beach, NC, Nags Head, NC, Bradley Beach, NJ, Red Bank, NJ, Cape Canaveral, FL. adopted resolutions opposing seismic air guns use. Letters of opposition came out of St. Johns County, FL, St. Augustine, FL, St. Augustine Beach, FL along with a resolution of concern from Caswell Beach, NC.
Recently, more than 100 scientists called on President Obama and his administration to wait on new acoustic guidelines for marine mammals, which are currently in development by the National Marine Fisheries Service. These guidelines are 15 years in the making and aim to provide a better understanding of how marine mammals are impacted by varying levels of man-made sound as well as demonstrate the measures that are needed to protect them. 9 U.S. Senators also sent a letter to DOI Secretary Sally Jewell urging her to hold off on issuing this administrative decision until all of the best available science, including these new acoustic guidelines, can be incorporated.
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