This picture of a beached humpback whale at Cape Vidal, which was posted on Roving Reporters Facebook page at the weekend, had reached an audience of 16 281 by yesterday morning, with 1 642 direct engagements and 306 reactions.Picture: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Durban - Amid gas and oil exploration taking place along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, a record number of whale and dolphin strandings were recorded last year, a marine scientist told the Symposium for Contemporary Conservation Practice in Howick last week.

But senior Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife marine ecologist, DrJennifer Olbers, said the verdict was still out on whether seismic surveys, which use active sonar (sound navigation and ranging), are causing whale and dolphin deaths.

During seismic surveys by the oil and gas industry, air guns are blasted underwater every 10-15seconds for 24hours a day, producing noise levels of about 200decibels.

Research in other parts of the world indicated that seismic noise was harmful to several marine creatures, particularly whales and dolphins, but currently, there was not sufficient scientific evidence to prove this, Olbers said.

Meanwhile, the deep sea drilling exploration project by the Italian gas and oil company, Eni, which has teamed up with Sasol, and which is still in the planning phase, has stalled, and not halted, as reported in the Daily News on Friday.

This comes after queries by a growing number of parties opposed to the project.

People interested in registering as an interested and/or affected party should e-mail [email protected]

Daily News