COST/MEDSALT prospections area

Help to put a brake on a new project for seismic prospecting in the sea

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A new project for seismic prospecting in the Balearic Sea has raised alarms for those people who want to avoid the subsequent heavy impact on the marine environment. You can help by adding your signature to a petition before 20 May.

Although it is presented as scientific research, documentation exists clearly citing the interests of various companies from the petroleum sector in this new attempt which would seriously affect the Balearic waters.

The area that they want to prospect is situated between Ibiza and Mallorca, as well as south east of Ibiza and Formentera but the affects can go hundreds of kilometres beyond. This prospecting, identified with by the name of MEDSALT-2, will be made with air guns which emit enormous thunderous sounds every few seconds and with a system of hydrophones that catch the returning sound waves after the subsoil has been penetrated.

The level of sound which these airguns emit will have fatal consequences for the marine fauna, including whales and dolphins as well as fish of commercial interest. The sea area that would be affected is of great importance for the sperm whales.

The Aliança Mar Blava a cross sector platform constituted for public administrations, companies such as fishing entities, tourist and nautical companies, social and ecological organizations, syndicates and public and private institutions – located a document that is at the basis of the project COST/MEDSALT and where you can read:

“In the short term, the action (COST/MEDSALT) will propel the exploration for industrial resources of hydrocarbons in the sensitive environment of the Mediterranean sea”. And at another point is a key phrase “…seven companies from the petroleum and gas sector and of petroleum services companies active in the Mediterranean have expressed in writing their interest in the activity.”

The project ought not to be authorised because of the unacceptable environmental impact. The use of the guns using compressed air is a very shocking technique for living creatures because of the high level of acoustic contamination generated in the sea. The negative effects have already been demonstrated scientifically on the marine animals, including shell fish, turtles, birds, invertebrates and fish of commercial interest.

The project is now available for public scrutiny with the possibility to contest it. Many various groups are trying to organise the thousands of people who are against this project to petition that authorization is not given. There are forms to sign in the streets and in the GOB office of Mahon there are printouts available for everyone (Monday to Friday from 9 – 14.30 and Monday to Thursday 17.30 to 20.00). All petitions made this way will be presented together.

If you are away from the island you can still sign. The Aliança Mar Blava has prepared a model of the petition and an explanation of the various options for sending a petition direct. You can download it by clicking here (in Spanish)

We would be grateful if you would spread this information around.