Fossil fuel giant Woodside, has begun seismic blasting in the middle of whale migration season, just a few months after a Federal Court threw out its previous approval. The seismic vessel is operating  in endangered pygmy blue whale habitat and not far from UNESCO-protected Ningaloo Reef. 

Pygmy Blue Whales in Western Australia. © Tiffany Klein / Greenpeace
Aerial shots of Marine Megafauna off Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. © Tiffany Klein / Greenpeace

Seismic blasting uses underwater airguns to blast powerful sound waves towards the seabed to identify fossil fuel reservoirs beneath the ocean floor. It can seriously injure whales and potentially kill other marine life. A growing body of research indicates that this noise pollution can damage, sometimes permanently, the hearing of whales and fish, as well as kill important prey species like plankton. 

Woodside’s own acoustic modelling found that pygmy blue whales could be injured by the seismic blasting over 60km from the blasting vessel. The blasts are expected to run for weeks, with local wildlife being exposed to booms as loud as a jet plane every 5 seconds, 12 hours a day.

Seismic blasting is just the first part of Woodside’s monstrous Burrup Hub. The whole Burrup Hub will include drilling up to 80 gas wells off the Pilbara and Kimberley coast – posing a threat to wildlife at major biodiversity hotspots like Scott Reef. 

Woodside and its Burrup Hub is Australia’s biggest climate threat, belching out 6.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its proposed 50-year lifetime.

The Burrup Hub is so dirty that its climate pollution would be greater than the combined total of the next two largest fossil fuel projects: the Beetaloo Tamboran and the Peak Downs Extension.

Woodside’s seismic blasting is way too risky and it should never have been given the green light. But the fight isn’t over yet. With enough pressure, we can make sure the government pulls the plug on Woodside’s disastrous plans. You can help by signing the Woodside petition or emailing your local MP.