ATHENS, Greece — Greenpeace on Thursday urged Greece to desert a deep-sea gasoline exploration mission within the Mediterranean, citing newly revealed analysis to argue that its impression on endangered whales and dolphins could be better than beforehand believed.
The environmental group mentioned a survey final 12 months in waters off southwestern Greece and Crete which are earmarked for exploratory drilling discovered sea mammals had been current there within the winter, in addition to the summer season, as had been already established.
The realm being explored for gasoline largely overlaps the Hellenic Trench, which incorporates the Mediterranean’s deepest waters, at 5,267 meters (17,300 toes). It’s a very important habitat for the ocean’s few hundred sperm whales, and for different marine mammals already threatened by fishing, collisions with ships and plastic air pollution.
Present environmental safeguards in place for the mission restrict prospection to the winter, to much less impression whale and dolphin, or cetacean, breeding intervals.
However the survey revealed Thursday within the Endangered Species Analysis journal discovered that at the least 4 species of cetaceans — together with sperm whales and Cuvier’s beaked whales — had been current within the space all 12 months spherical.
Kostis Grimanis from Greenpeace Greece mentioned that a part of the Mediterranean is of “enormous” ecological significance.
“And but, the federal government and oil firms are obsessively pursuing hydrocarbon exploration in these waters,” he mentioned. “That is an absurd crime towards nature. It won’t solely be detrimental to those iconic marine fauna species, however to our struggle towards the local weather disaster,” by looking for to use undersea fossil fuels.
Greenpeace known as on the federal government to cancel all offshore drilling permits.
In 2019, Greece granted exploration rights for 2 blocks of seabed south and southwest of the island of Crete to a world power consortium, and smaller initiatives are below manner farther north. This 12 months, ExxonMobil and Greece’s Helleniq Vitality accomplished a three-month seismic survey of the seabed within the two large blocks, and the Greek authorities says preliminary exploratory drilling might begin there in 2025.
Officers say the strictest environmental requirements are being adopted.
The seismic survey bounces sonic blasts off the seabed to establish potential gasoline deposits, a course of that will be deafening to sound-sensitive cetaceans. Sonar utilized by warships has been proven to have lethal results on whales, and consultants say seismic surveys can do the identical. Drilling and extracting gasoline would additionally trigger vital undersea noise, in response to environmentalists.
The brand new report, by Greenpeace Greece, the College of Exeter and the Athens-based Pelagos Cetacean Analysis Institute, detected at the least 5 species of cetaceans in 166 encounters — together with 14 sperm whales — in winter 2022. It adopted comparable analysis throughout summer season months.
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