Seismic surveys in the marine environment are conducted by earth scientists and geophysicists to understand the structure and movement of the earth’s crust and to detect and delineate potential commercial quantities of sub-sea oil and gas resources.
The potential for environmental impacts from seismic surveys on key
components of the marine ecosystems has been recognized for some time. In order
to understand the state of scientific knowledge, DFO sponsored a peer review
by Canadian and international science experts. Their objective was to
develop scientific conclusions and advice on the potential impacts of seismic
sound on marine fish, marine invertebrates, marine zooplankton, eggs and larvae
of fish and invertebrates, marine turtles and marine mammals. A copy of the
peer-reviewed report, entitled “Review of Scientific Information on Impacts
of Seismic Sound on Fish, Invertebrates, Marine Turtles and Marine Mammals" (Habitat
Status Report 2004/002) is available at:
Based on this peer-reviewed advice and an assessment by technical experts of the best available and internationally-recognized techniques to mitigate the effects of seismic sound in the marine environment, a group of federal and provincial experts in marine regulatory policy and practice ( Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Caanda, the Provinces of British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Quebec) developed a Statement of Canadian Practice. The Statement of Canadian Practice is intended to formalize and standardize the mitigation measures in Canada with respect to the conduct of seismic surveys in the marine environment. It will consist of minimum standards which will be given effect through existing regulatory authorities. For oil and gas seismic activities, Natural Resources Canada and Indian Affairs and Northern development, the provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and their related boards, the National Energy Board, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, will give effect to the Statement under their respective regulatory instruments. Non-oil and gas related seismic surveys will be regulated by the Oceans Act.