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New guidelines seek to curb risks to whales from seismic tests

General January 20, 2014

A blue whale swims in the deep blue sea off the coast of MirissaBy Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) – Safeguards on seismic testing for an oil and gas project in the Pacific have shielded endangered whales from harm and are a model for managing the deafening blasts, the world's largest environmental group said on Monday. Conservationists working with Sakhalin Energy Investment Co Ltd in Russia from 2006-12 said the tiny population of endangered Western Grey whales had risen about 3 percent a year to 140, despite seismic testing near their feeding grounds. Seismic testing bounces sound waves into the seabed to seek deposits of oil and gas. "This work helps to set a standard," Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine and polar program at the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), told Reuters.

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