Date ArticleType
3/9/2016 Member News
Spiny lobster eggs not impacted by underwater oil and gas exploration air guns, study finds

Spiny lobster eggs not impacted by underwater oil and gas exploration air guns, study finds

By Pablo Vinales

Updated yesterday at 5:33pmTue 8 Mar 2016, 5:33pm

Photo: The study was carried out on in Tasmania's Storm Bay. (Supplied: IMAS)

There is no impact of the embryonic development of spiny lobsters from seismic air guns used in underwater oil and gas exploration, a new study has found.

Key points:

  • Research examined effect of air guns on young lobsters
  • The air guns are used by miners searching for oil and gas deposits
  • Scientists found there was no effect on the crustaceans

The study, carried out by Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and Curtin University, researched whether compressed air guns used to explore sub-seafloor deposits adversely affected the development of spiny lobster embryos.

IMAS principal investigator Jayson Semmens said whilst the results were from early stage embryos, the findings were reassuring.

"That's good news for the lobster industry, but also for the oil and gas industry," he said.

"They don't want to impact fisheries or environments but the important caveat is that this is just one stage."

The researchers tested three different air gun configurations at various distances on egg-carrying female spiny lobsters on a shallow reef in Storm Bay, in southern Tasmania.

Photo: The study measured the effects of seismic air guns on embryonic lobster larva. (Supplied: IMAS)

"The way we tested it is we exposed the females carrying eggs to these airguns in the field and brought them back in tanks and we kept them in captivity until their eggs hatched into larvae," Mr Semmens said.

"And then we tested those larvae to see what their abilities were and see if there was any change in their behaviour and it turned out that there was no difference."

The research is one of the first in the world to look at the impacts of noise seismic air guns cause to marine invertebrates like lobsters.

It is part of a four-year research program looking at seismic testing to establish best practice procedures between government, research organisations and industry.

First posted yesterday at 1:36pmTue 8 Mar 2016, 1:36pm

Full Article