Assessing the impact of seismic surveys on turtles in Trinidad & Tobago

Our work in Trinidad & Tobago requires great sensitivity, not least because the country is host to one of the world’s largest nesting populations of leatherback turtles

In 2016 we finalized plans for a seismic survey to map and evaluate the potential for new underwater oil and gas reserves. Such surveys involve vessels that emit predominantly low frequency sound pulses by releasing compressed air into the water. The subsequent sound waves are reflected off the geological formations that lie below the seabed and are recorded.

We discussed the potential impact that these sound waves might have on turtles and marine mammals with local marine authorities and the marine scientific community.

We also consulted with local organizations, such as Nature Seekers, and marine mammal observers. These groups work closely with the local fishing community, whose activities provide valuable information on turtle movements.

Because of this collaboration, we were able to plan our seismic surveys to avoid areas located within 30 kilometres of the coastline and considered sensitive for the local turtle population during nesting season. Most importantly, this work will help to inform the future approaches that others take - both inside and outside our industry - when working with turtles in Trinidad & Tobago and elsewhere.

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