Oil protest group looking for help

Last updated 15:32 08/01/2014

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Seismic surveying could be under way any time according to NoDrill Kaikoura representatives who met during the weekend.

Group spokesman Ralph Hogan said the group was planning to co-ordinate a flotilla to challenge the ship once it appeared in Kaikoura waters.

The group is looking for interested parties to join the protest, whether it be with boats, banners or people power.

It is understood seismic surveying, which is the first stage in determining what oil and gas resources are below the seabed, could take around 40 days and is likely to be under way during January and February.

Those opposed to the surveying are concerned that Kaikoura's marine life, particularly the whales and dolphins, could be at real risk of harm from the seismic testing, which bounces sound waves off the ocean floor.

Very little research has been carried out on the effects of the seismic testing on marine mammals, however it is widely agreed that there would be a degree of harm. Marine expert and zoologist Dr Liz Slooten says it can cause serious damage to marine mammals using sonar for communication and guidance as the sound waves used in surveying can conflict with the sonar frequencies used by whales.

While the seismic vessel will have to adhere to the Department of Conservation's code of conduct, which includes having marine mammal observers on board, many believe this is not sufficient and believe no testing should be carried out until the effects have been more extensively investigated.

Boaties from the North Island and top of the south have already expressed interest in participating, along with local boats. If you are also interested in challenging the seismic vessel when it arrives in Kaikoura, contact Shayne Kavanagh on 021 050 2160.

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- Kaikoura Star

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