Coordinator concerned about seismic testing

  • Feb. 10, 2003 6:00 a.m.

Masset economic development coordinator Shirley Kricheldorf has concerns about the Nai Kun Wind Development Inc.’s plans to undertake seismic testing in Hecate Strait.
The company is planning to build a huge offshore wind farm in the strait, and has applied for a permit to explore a large area of shallow seabed off the east coast of Graham Island.
Ms Kricheldorf said alarm bells went off in her head when she read Nai Kun vice-president Michael Altman’s comments in the Jan. 30 Observer. Mr. Altman said the company wants to use seismic sensors to conduct seabed surveys.
Ms Kricheldorf said that after doing a bit of research, she has concerns about damage to salmon, crab, halibut and rock fish stocks. Seismic testing uses high-pressured air guns to direct shock waves at the seabed. The blasts can explode the swim bladders of fish, damage marine mammals’ hearing, and harm fish larvae, according to information she found on the Living Oceans Society’s web site.
She added that seismic testing is also a first step for the oil and gas industry, and wondered if this was a “back door” for the oil and gas companies to get information about conditions in Hecate Strait.
According to Land and Water BC, the land officer has not yet made a decision on Nai Kun’s application for exploration and investigation in the strait.