Seismic Surveying For Oil Causes 46 Sea Turtles To Wash Ashore, Only 15 Survive

Photo by nathan harper on Unsplash

Marine seismic surveying done last week by an Italian company off the shores of Israel has caused dozens of injured sea turtles to wash ashore. The purpose of the seismic surveying was to find offshore oil and natural gas reserves.

Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center was called into action as dozens of the turtles were found on Israel’s beaches. In total, 46 sea turtles were found in a three day span.

Dozens of volunteers came out to help search the beaches and carry the injured turtles to be transported, many of which suffered from lung and stomach cavity damage. According to center director Yaniv Levy, many of the sea turtles had fluid, including blood, in their lungs.

Unfortunately, due to the damage caused to the turtles, the center was only able to save 15 turtles, which will now go through rehabilitation for six months to a year before being released back in the ocean.

A investigation by the Nature and Parks Authority was able to determine that the cause of the mass killing was due to seismic surveying by the company from Italy. Over a period of 24 hours, roughly 20 explosions were set off every nine seconds.

Seismic testing maps the ocean floor and estimates if there may be oil and gas, but only exploratory drilling can confirm their presence. 

Loggerhead and green sea turtles populate the waters off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea.

This is just another reason why seismic surveying is one extreme concern to the marine life of the world. The discovery is not only extremely sad but also very disturbing as countries across the world, including the United States, continue to promote seismic surveys in hopes to find an energy source that is directly causing the climate disaster we are currently seeing.

5 Comments on “Seismic Surveying For Oil Causes 46 Sea Turtles To Wash Ashore, Only 15 Survive”

  1. I do not support oil development or seismic testing but I have to know more to convince me that these turtles were impacted by the seismic signals. The description of what is wrong with these turtles suggests cold-related stress. How cold is the water off Israel, is the cold exceptional?

    1. Unless your question is rhetorical… a quick google search could have easily answered it: “Winter in Israel is between November and March (but if you’re from a cold place, like Canada or New York, it will feel more like autumn). Temperatures are generally between 9°C/48°F–18°C/64°F, and the beaches are officially “closed”, simply meaning there are no lifeguards on duty (but that never stopped anyone…).May 11, 2017…” … Also, the symptoms the sea turtles in the story are not reflective of “cold-related stress.” As with any amphibian or reptile, those symptoms would include decreased heart rate, decreased circulation, lethargy, eventually leading to shock, possibly other lung issues like pneumonia, and eventually death. The sea turtles referenced above were most definitely impacted detrimentally by seismic surveying. Their insides were scrambled. Oh, my sister is a herpetologist.

  2. This article presents the baseline annual deaths of the turtles at around 250.

    46 in 3 days is notable and coincident with the explosive seismic testing.
    Its worth noting that seismic testing is not exactly like sonar, it listens not for the return of a ping but of the echoes of a sub-surface explosion near the sea bed.

    I’m no biologist but those injuries do sound concussion related and not cold related.

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