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Industry Insights | Seismic Impacts on Demersal Fish

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Seismic surveys have little impact on demersal fishes concludes a large-scale, three-year experiment that recently quantified the impacts of exposure to a commercial seismic source on an assemblage of tropical demersal fishes targeted by commercial fisheries on the Northwest Shelf of Western Australia.

The multidisciplinary team of scientists, technical staff, and industry experts found there were no short-term (days) or long-term (months) effects of exposure on the composition, abundance, size structure, behavior, or movement of this fauna. These multiple lines of evidence suggest that seismic surveys have little impact on demersal fishes in this environment.

In his most recent Industry Insights article, Andrew Long summarizes several key elements of a publication by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and its partners in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

The publication, Meeken et al. (2021), addresses concerns frequently voiced by commercial fishing stakeholders regarding the negative impacts of seismic surveys on catches of demersal fishes in this environment, at least for the suite of site-attached species that were the subject of their study. The results of an associated pearl oyster study are expected in late-2021.




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