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WDC asks Dutch government to halt loud underwater surveys

WDC is demanding an immediate halt to on-going underwater surveys for oil and gas in Dutch waters, close to the German border and a special area of protection for a vulnerable harbour porpoise population.

‘Air guns’ are used in these surveys and fire loud pulses of sound down into the seabed to locate deposits of crude oil. Noise levels from these ‘guns’ are extreme and sound from them can travel thousands of kilometers through the water.

The nearby German marine protected area, called the Borkum Reef Ground, is a known habitat for the harbour porpoise, a species strictly protected under Europoean Union law (EU Habitats Directive).

For whales, dolphins and porposes, ‘listening’ is as important as ‘seeing’ is for humans. Noise pollution interrupts their normal behaviour, driving them away from areas important to their survival, and at worst injuring or sometimes even causing their deaths.

Importantly, summertime is known as the most sensitive period for harbour porpoises, as they give birth to their young, which are especially vulnerable to such loud noise pollution.

WDC has written to the Dutch government requesting that these surveys stop immediately.