Government Body Trumpet “Successful Seismic Survey” – the reality? Untold Damage to the Marine Environment

Press Release from Radiation Free Lakeland, 25th August 2022:

On the Gov.UK website there is a triumphant message:

“NWS’ first marine geophysical survey off the coast of Copeland, Cumbria, was successfully completed on 18 August. This non-intrusive survey has gathered data to provide a better understanding of the deep geology and supports the search to find a suitable site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).”

Over 50,000 people opposed the seismic survey to test the geology for a deep nuclear dump under the Irish Sea.

The “non-intrusive” seismic survey blasted marine life with sound every five seconds 24/7 for 20 days. There was no public consultation , not even a vote by Copeland Borough Councillors who are supposedly “Partners” in the GDF Community Partnership.

Radiation Free Lakeland have written to the Joint Nature Conservation Conservation Committee urging them to halt all seismic blasting in the UK in marine protected areas. Seismic blasting in marine protected areas would not be allowed in the US who have much more stringent rules on seismic blasting which has been banned in the Atlantic to protect marine life.

Here the seismic survey carried out by Nuclear Waste Services and Copeland Borough Council under the guise of “scientific research” has had impacts that have been witnessed already. Witnesses have seen harbour porpoise displacement, reported the strandings of dead seals and harbour porpoise at Drigg and the strandings of hundreds of dead jellyfish at Silloth. (distressing photos and report of cetacean deaths not published here but sent to the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme)

The seismic survey will have negative impacts on our marine life for the months and years to come. This is the collateral damage from the Government’s policy to foist a deep hot nuclear dump under Cumbria and the Irish Sea.

Marine Pollution Expert Tim Deere-Jones has reflected : ” jelly fish are sensitive and well aware of their surroundings……. Jelly fish have receptors for a wide range of “senses” that respond to touch, light, gravity, chemicals and pressure waves/sound. Sensitivity to sound pressure waves and vibration has been inferred by observational studies of moon jelly fish (Aruelia spp:). Studies have concluded that sound pressure waves/sound are detected and mediated by the equivalent of “sound receptors”.

Laboratory studies have demonstrated that medusae form numerous small crystals, which are collected in sac-like statocyst located at the distal ends of their rhopalia. Rhopalia are complex sensory organs, which have been associated with pulsing, swimming and orientation and that act as gravireceptors, which enable medusae to position themselves in an upright posture after tilting.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has revealed major injuries in the statocyst sensory epithelium of both jellyfish and coral species after exposure to sound, that are consistent with the manifestation of a massive acoustic trauma observed in other species. The presence of acoustic trauma in marine species like moon jelly medusa (adult forms), shows the magnitude of the problem of noise pollution and the complexity of the task to determine threshold values that would help building up regulation to prevent permanent damage of the ecosystems.

Ref:….. “Evidence of Cnidarians sensitivity to sound after exposure to low frequency noise underwater sources.” Marta Sole et al’. Scientific Reports. Vol 6: article number 37979. Nature. 21st December 2016.s

The seismic blasting has been hailed “a success” by Nuclear Waste Services – the marine life says otherwise