IWDG Propose Temporal Closure of the Porcupine Seabight to Seismic Activity

31st Aug 2014
The IWDG have submitted a proposal to the Petroleum Affairs Division (PAD) for  for a temporal restriction of seismic survey activity on 
the slopes of the Irish Shelf and Porcupine Seabight.
 
The proposal stems from an increasing body of evidence which indicates that the Irish Shelf Slopes and Porcupine Seabight are an important migration route and opportunistic foraging area for blue whales and fin whales from August to March each year. Humpback whales are also known to migrate along a similar route in the winter and early spring.
 
The IWDG is concerned at a large increase in seismic survey activity in the Porpcupine Seabight during the main migration period and recent evidence of disturbance to these migrating whales by seismic surveys. The IWDG is proposing that seismic survey activity in the Porcupine Seabight be restricted to the months March to August, outside of the migration period, in order to minimise disturbance to these highly endangered whale species. The Irish Shelf slopes outside of the Porcupine Seabight are already protected from seismic survey activity by a mitigation area imposed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service in 2013 (click here for info). Similar measures have been sucessfully implemented in other areas of the world where whales seasonally occur in large numbers (e.g. South Africa). Blue whales are listed as 'critically endangered' and fin whales are listed as 'endangered' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 
The proposal was developed by Dave Wall and Patrick Lyne on behalf of the IWDG following a meeting between PAD and IWDG in May. The IWDG feel the proposal is both reasonable and supported by best available information.
 
Please see full proposal attached to this article