There is growing evidence that noise from seismic surveys conducted to locate offshore oil and gas deposits result in negative environmental impacts. Harmful effects can include tissue and hearing damage, interference with sounds used to detect prey or avoid predators, as well as behavioural changes (such as displacing some species from their feeding and breeding grounds). These harmful effects add to existing acoustic pollution of the oceans (for example, noise from shipping and use of sonars). An increasing number of seismic surveys are being conducted in SA’s oceans as Operation Phakisa gains momentum. Initiated in 2014, Phakisa aims to unlock the economic potential of SA’s oceans, and a component of this is the promotion of offshore oil and gas exploration aimed at drilling 30 exploration wells over the next decade. Seismic surveys forming part of offshore oil and gas reconnaissance operations, are not listed as an activity requiring environmental authorisation under SA’s Nation...

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