Forest & Bird has today sent an open letter to the company proposing to conduct seismic blasting in blue whale habitat, urging them to abandon the project.
The seismic survey, which is looking for fossil fuels, covers 19,000 square kilometres and includes the area of the Government’s proposed Taranaki blue whale sanctuary.
"The recent Speech from the Throne stated that the Government intends to make New Zealand world leaders on environmental issues and climate change," says Forest & Bird CE Kevin Hague.
"The Government also stated its intention to safeguard the healthy functioning of marine ecosystems and look at establishing a Taranaki blue whale sanctuary.
"Yet we know that seismic surveying is a serious threat to marine mammals, including blue whales."
The area is home to several marine mammal species about which little is known, including pygmy right whales, Shepherd’s beaked whales, and strap-tooth beaked whales.
"This proposed survey appears completely at odds with the new Government’s goals," says Mr Hague.
"It is highly unlikely that any surveying will result in opportunities for extracting fossil fuels given the new Government’s direction. Therefore we urge Schlumberger New Zealand to abandon this destructive project, now."