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Parliamentary questions
6 June 2013
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Exploration for oil in Ibiza

Towards the end of this year, the Irish oil company Cairn Energy plans to begin a series of underwater explorations for oil 35 miles off the coast of Ibiza.

These explorations will involve carrying out a series of underwater explosions, generating resonance waves that make it possible to identify the composition of the rocks on the seabed.

The scientific community agrees that 180 decibels is the level of acoustic intensity above which cetaceans and sea turtles may suffer irreversible physical harm, and the explosions involved in these explorations will reach 249 decibels.

Wave emissions affect cetaceans’ location systems, altering their behaviour, feeding ability, orientation and migration routes. Furthermore, there will be devastating effects on fisheries, which will be literally destroyed. According to studies by the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Council of Lanzarote, one of the main consequences of these explosions will be dead disoriented cetaceans washing up on beaches.

What is the Commission’s opinion of this exploration and the effects it will have on the ecosystem?

Is the Commission aware of which species will be affected?

Does the Commission believe that the Spanish Government should take action to prevent cetaceans, sea turtles, seabirds and fish stocks being affected?

Does the Commission believe that it is acceptable for explosions to reach 249 dB, when the consensus among the scientific community is that cetaceans and turtles are affected at levels above 180 dB?

Does the Commission believe that explorations should be carried out using technology that would have a lesser impact on the ecosystem?

Original language of question: ESOJ C 47 E, 19/02/2014
Last updated: 18 June 2013Legal notice