BACKGROUNDER: Seismic Testing

About Seismic Testing

Seismic testing uses intense noise levels of approximately 230 decibels to locate deposits of oil and gas beneath the sea floor. Whales have been shown to avoid seismic noise at received levels of around 130 dB in water.

During seismic testing, air guns are fired at 11-second intervals, 24 hours per day, creating a din that can cause physiological damage to marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and invertebrates.

Seismic testing has also been shown to negatively affect the mating, migration, and feeding patterns of a wide range of marine species.

About Oil Free Coast Alliance

The Oil Free Coast Alliance is a coalition of 105 organizations who together are calling on the federal and provincial governments to maintain the moratorium on offshore oil and gas in British Columbia. Member organizations include the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre, Georgia Strait Alliance, Greenpeace, Living Oceans Society, Sierra Club of Canada (BC Chapter), West Coast Environmental Law, and Western Canada Wilderness Committee.

For more information on the Oil Free Coast Alliance, see

Additional information

Reports on the impacts of seismic testing can be found at:


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