MEDIA ADVISORY and DAYBOOK ITEM for Tuesday, February 5, 2013 CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Aquarium, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Oceana will conduct a mock seismic airgun test at Marion Square in downtown Charleston tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 12 p.m. The groups are calling on the United States government to prevent such testing in the Atlantic Ocean due to its impacts on marine mammals, fisheries and coastal economies. The federal government is considering opening the East Coast from Delaware to Florida to offshore oil and gas exploration for the first time in more than 30 years. The current proposal would allow the use of seismic airgun testing, which involves shooting loud blasts of compressed air through the ocean and miles under the seafloor, every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks on end. The blasts are so loud and constant that they could lead to serious impacts for marine life, including temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of vital behaviors such as mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and deaths. According to the Department of the Interior’s own assessment, seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean would:
- Injure as many as 138,500 dolphins and whales
- Injure as many as nine critically endangered North Atlantic right whales (only 361 left worldwide)
- Disrupt nesting for threatened loggerhead sea turtles
- Displace commercially valuable fish species and decrease catch rates for coastal fisheries
WHO: Shelley Dearhart, Education Programs Instructor, South Carolina Aquarium Chris Carnevale, Coastal Climate and Energy Coordinator, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Katie Parrish, Campaign Organizer, Oceana WHEN: Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 12 to 1 p.m. WHERE: Marion Square, Downtown Charleston at King St. And Calhoun St. Oceana has conducted similar events in Savannah, South Florida, Washington D.C. and Boston. To learn more about Oceana’s efforts to stop seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean as well as access their infographic on the subject, please click here. # # # The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston’s most visited attraction, features thousands of amazing aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in more than 60 exhibits representing the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. Dedicated to promoting education and conservation, the Aquarium also presents fabulous views of Charleston harbor and interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages. For more information call 843-720-1990 or visit scaquarium.org. Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.