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#517900 - 09/29/16 11:42 AM MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY
Marty Offline
The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum hereby informs the public that pursuant to the Petroleum Act the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum and the Geology and Petroleum Department, will be conducting a multibeam and sea seep survey in the marine territory of Belize east of the barrier reef and in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), excluding all marine protected areas as well as all areas banned from petroleum exploration which includes the barrier reef, the atolls and all World Heritage Sites with a 1 kilometer buffer around all these areas. The survey will be done in deep water only and away from any major tourist activity, fishing areas or spawning sites.

This survey is part of a larger regional geophysical survey currently being done by the United States Government and the Mexican Government in the US Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican Gulf of Mexico and east of the Yucatan Peninsula to gather new regional data to advance the knowledge of the geology and hydrocarbon systems of these geological provinces. Belize was invited to participate in this regional program and take advantage of the opportunity to acquire invaluable geological data over the deep waters of Belize where there is currently no data. Belize has taken the decision to participate in this regional program with the US and Mexico.

A multibeam survey is the typical survey done by countries to obtain essential baseline bathymetric data or water depth maps and seafloor maps of the world’s oceans and harbors for navigation and scientific information. This type of survey produces accurate and high resolution bathymetric maps. It also provides additional benefits such as the mapping of geological features on the sea floor including sea mounds formed on the sea bottom from hydrocarbon seepage. If sea mounds are identified, these can be sampled through soft sediment coring and analyzed to confirm the presence of hydrocarbon systems.

Multibeam surveys are done using an echo sounder similar to a fish-finder that maps the topography or bottom of the sea floor and are non-invasive and have little to no environmental effects. Multibeam surveys are used by Navies such as the US Navy, government administrative agencies such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Universities such as the University of Texas, University of Oregon and the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and marine academic organizations such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Multibeam surveys for purposes of evaluating hydrocarbon systems have been conducted worldwide in marine preserves, parks, and areas sensitive to marine life such as the Raja Ampat National Park and Marine Reserve in Indonesia.

The survey is expected to commence early October 2016 and is expected to take one month to complete. All data acquired will be the property of the Government of Belize.

(They are looking for oil seeps which might indicate oil deposits below.)


Multi Beam and Sea Seep Survey Diagram

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#517989 - 10/04/16 11:26 AM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

OCEANA Questions Department of Environment Over Petroleum Work

Janelle Chanona

Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum sent out a release stating that along with the Geology Department, it will be conducting a multi-beam and sea seep survey to the east of the barrier reef and in the exclusive economic zone excluding all marine protected areas, as well as areas banned from petroleum exploration. The release stated that the survey is part of a bigger regional physical survey being done in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican Gulf of Mexico and east of the Yucatan Peninsula. The purpose of the survey, according to the release, is to gather new regional data to advance the knowledge of geology and hydrocarbon systems. But the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage responded with a letter to Chief Environmental Officer, Martin. We spoke with OCEANA’s Vice President, Janelle Chanona, who told us some of the concerns about this proposed multi-beam work:

Janelle Chanona, Vice President, OCEANA Belize

“We were informed that there was going to be multi-beam work to map Belize’s entire sea floor. Multi-beam is a relative new form of technology to this part of the world and as far as I have been made to understand, very limited in country experience. So, the Coalition has written a letter to the Chief Environmental Officer, Mr Martin Algeria, asking for additional information and background in how the department was able to reach a conclusive clause that there was little to no environmental impacts. Simultaneous to that, we have also been made to understand that there’s a proposal to do seismic work for the entire country of Belize, as well offshore. We understand that Cabinet has not approved that but there is that proposal. So we have also written and asked for copies of contracts and any materials related to that because we definitely want to see what the proposal is so we know what is at stake. As you know, we maintain that seismic activity would have very serious environmental impacts and we certainly believe that before any of that happens, it should be made public and go through the proper protocols and procedures before any sort of activity takes place.”

The survey is expected to start this early month and is expected to last for a month. 

Channel 5


The Government of Belize has approved seismic surveys in Belize

If it proceeds, this testing will occur just over one kilometer away from the fragile Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, which has been listed as in danger by UNESCO.

Seismic testing involves using airguns to blast shock waves through the water that are powerful enough to penetrate the seafloor. For dolphins and whales, it can cause deafness, disturb communications, and disrupt migration patterns. Whales and whale sharks will be migrating through the area at the time of the survey. Additionally, such surveys have been shown to impact negatively catch rates for fishers, especially during testing periods.

What could possibly be worth risking our marine life? What could justify robbing 190,000 Belizeans of their livelihoods? Is oil actually worth dead fish in a dead sea in a country robbed of it's most precious resources?

If oil isn't worth it to you... let the Prime Minister know.

WWF Belize



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#518250 - 10/13/16 10:58 AM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

OCEANA Says Seismic Shadow Looms

At the end of September, the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, informed the public that, after approval from Cabinet, it would be conducting a multibeam and seep sea survey in the Exclusive Economic Zone, and away from the barrier reef, atolls and other World Heritage Sites. According to the Ministry, these surveys are part of a larger effort involving the US and Mexico to collect new data on the geological features of the area. And though the Ministry promises that these surveys will be conducted away from any major tourism areas and important fishing and spawning sites, some conservation organizations are not happy.

According to OCEANA some of the methods used in conducting the surveys could in fact be harmful to the marine life in the surrounding area. In a letter written to oppose the government's decision to allow the surveys, OCEANA cites disruption of mating and feeding habits, abandonment of habitat, and potential deafness in some marine mammals, as major concerns. OCEANA also mentions that this sort of seismic testing is often the first step in the development of oil and gas fields.

Both OCEANA and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage have asked the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum to release the written position it provided to the Cabinet. The organization alleges that the information the Ministry based its position on may not be 100% scientifically accurate. Therefore, OCEANA has urged Cabinet to reassess the decision until further research has been conducted on the risks of the multibeam and seep sea surveys, and after proper measures have been put into place to protect the livelihoods of those employed in the tourism and fishing sectors.


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#518277 - 10/14/16 11:05 AM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

An Ocean Of Concern

Yesterday, we told you about OCEANA's concerns with Cabinet's recent approval of seismic surveying in the waters outside of the barrier reef and atolls one kilometre buffer zone. Today, Janelle Chanona, OCEANA's country leader, visited the studio to explain why they are so concerned about the decision:

Alex Courtenay
"The Cabinet has recently approved certain, surveys. A seismic survey as well as a multi beam survey, which the OCEANA organization has taken a position on?"

Janelle Chanona - VP, OCEANA Belize
"So on Wednesday we were informed verbally and in person by both the PM and the Minister of Petroleum that Cabinet in its Tuesday meeting has approved conducting seismic surveys offshore Belize, East of the Belize Barrier reef, excluding the reef itself and one kilometre, and excluding Belize's 3 atolls and their one kilometre basis. They would shoot seismic essentially everywhere else. Both the PM and the Minister of Petroleum pointed out that Cabinet made this decision, or came to this decision based on recommendations from the department of Environment. Therefore, OCEANA and other partner organizations have asked the department of the environment to provide us, the environmental community and concerned Belizeans for the premise, the basis or how that recommendation came into being because the information that we have seen related to seismic and even in the presentation or in a presentation from the Ministry, the Department of Petroleum, they accepted that there was significant environmental impact associated with shooting seismic. So we want to know what have they read, what have they looked at, how they came to recommend that there is no need for an Environmental Impact Assessment."

Alex Courtenay
"And is there also a fear that because seismic surveys can often be a precursor to the development of maybe oil or gas industries, which is a position that OCEANA is obviously against and many Belizeans are against, is there a fear that that might come into fruition?"

Janelle Chanona - VP, OCEANA Belize
"Well certainly, and just to frame a little bit wider; so, we were alerted to the fact that there were ships coming in to do multi beam survey work, which is a sort of high definition fish sounders, but that this was being commissioned by the inspector of Petroleum, department of petroleum, obviously it's for Petroleum related factors. That was confirmed when any sort of scientific data or fishing management related data now has to be re-negotiated for, because that was not part of the original contract. So obviously this multi beam, was sort of a secondary component to shooting seismic and we got that confirmed in a presentation on multi beam, that regardless of what the multi beam survey presented or showed, they would still insist on shooting seismic because that would be one of the conclusive ways of doing this. As you alluded to, Belizeans have felt very strongly about offshore related oil activity for some time, and have taken very clear positions on it, but over and beyond that it has to be – any conversation about offshore oil needs to happen in the context of what it means economically for us. We know what tourism is to this country, we know what fishing is to this country, we know what our cultural identity is to this country, and it is not our position that we should be locking up resources and bonding with marine life, and you know kumbaya, this is about making about sure that we are safeguarding our economic strongholds, and safeguarding the things that make our lives possible, our jobs possible, our food possible. And that's all we're asking for, transparency, disclosure, consultation. So that as we go into this all of our eyes are wide open to what may be down the road." 

Chanona stresses that the purpose of OCEANA's opposition is to simply ensure that all risks are weighed when making a decision that could negatively affect thousands of Belizeans.

Channel 7



Sonic Sea

Sonic Sea ( http://www.sonicsea.org ) is a 60-minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of a former U.S. Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean.

The film is narrated by Rachel McAdams and features Sting, in addition to the renowned ocean experts Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Paul Spong, Dr. Christopher Clark and Jean-Michel Cousteau.


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#518371 - 10/18/16 01:58 PM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
Rigrat Offline
I think Oceana needs to get someone who knows what they are talking about. This is not a seismic survey, this is a Multi Beam Survey to map the sea floor. If she is getting so excited about this then she needs to get excited about every single depth sounder and fish finder in Belize.
Fish cannot detect sounds above 50kHz. Multibeam surveys are typically done in the 125 to 500 kHz range. Normal conversation is -70dB a telephone ringing is -80db. Multibeam surveys are typically carried out at this depth at 20 to 70dB.

Calling this anything other than a seabed survey is scaremongering, which as we have seen in the past Oceana is very good at.

Don't believe the hype, this is a good thing for Belize and will do zero damage.

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#518374 - 10/18/16 02:56 PM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
Making a survey may not kill fish, but using the info and subsequently drilling is NOT ok.
NOT.



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#518376 - 10/18/16 05:42 PM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Government of Belize to Participate in Regional Seismic Survey

The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum hereby informs the public that pursuant to the Petroleum Act the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum and the Geology and Petroleum Department, will be conducting a regional seismic survey in the deep offshore territory of Belize east of the barrier reef and in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), excluding all marine protected areas as well as all areas banned from petroleum exploration which includes the barrier reef, the atolls and all World Heritage Sites with a 1 kilometer buffer around all these areas. The survey will be done in deep water only and away from any major tourist activity, fishing areas or spawning sites.

This survey is part of a larger regional geophysical survey currently being done by the United States Government and the Mexican Government in the US Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican Gulf of Mexico and east of the Yucatan Peninsula to gather new regional data to advance the knowledge of the geology and hydrocarbon systems of these geological provinces. Belize was invited to participate in this regional program and take advantage of the opportunity to acquire invaluable geological data over the deep waters of Belize where there is currently no data. Belize has taken the decision to participate in this regional program with the US and Mexico.

A marine seismic survey is done using a seismic ship that will navigate along survey lines and acquire seismic data along the lines using an acoustic source, that focuses sound downwards, and hydrophones. The acoustic source will be towed behind the ship and will release acoustic waves at intervals along the seismic lines that will travel down in the water and into the rocks below the seafloor scanning them and return to the surface of the sea by reflection. The reflections will be received by the hydrophones that will be trailing behind the ship and the data will be sent to the ship along the hydrophones. This process will be repeated along each seismic line. There are 22 planned lines in the survey. The data produced will give a regional picture of the geology below the sea floor that will help the Government to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of the deep offshore areas of Belize.

Mitigation measures, which are internationally practiced, will be utilized to minimize the disturbance to marine mammals. Every survey run will start with a ramp up procedure or slow start where the level of the acoustic sound will slowly be increased so that if any marine mammals are in the area they can move away before data acquisition commences. There will also be marine mammals observers on board the seismic vessel who will look for marine mammals in the operation zone and if there are sightings the soft start will be delayed or acquisition stopped until they have moved out of the area and then the survey process will be continued.

The survey is expected to commence in the third week of October 2016 and is expected to take 3 weeks to complete. All data acquired will be the property of the Government of Belize.

Any person who would like more information on the survey can contact Andre Cho, Director of the Geology and Petroleum Department at Market Square, Belmopan City or at telephone 802-2178.



Every year tens of thousands of visitors come to dive in Belize; the Great Blue Hole is one of the most popular tours. There's a special rush to diving amongst stalactites in a giant sinkhole at sea. But really, any dive in Belize is exciting. At its sitting on October 11th 2016, Belize's executive arm, the cabinet approved seismic testing for Belize's waters; see photo for coverage area. The Department of the Environment did not recommend an environmental impact assessment be done beforehand. Oceana believes that all Belizeans should be made aware of the potential short and long impacts of this technology before the first airgun is fired. Some studies suggest the airguns' blasts will travel for hundreds of miles underwater. Belizean waters are less than 300 miles from the apex of the Exclusive Economic Zone inwards. What's the rush? According to the Inspector of Petroleum, the survey has a tentative start date of October 20th.

Oceana Belize


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#518377 - 10/18/16 05:47 PM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
BrusselSprout Offline
If the research is for research sake and does no damage then great. But the fact that it MUST be a precursor to the extraction of oil is alarming to say the least.

Why start ourselves down a way too slippery slope. Why not do something now?


Edited by BrusselSprout (10/18/16 05:47 PM)
_________________________
www.sanpedroscoop.com

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#518379 - 10/18/16 08:26 PM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: BrusselSprout]
Rigrat Offline
Why is it a precursor to oil exploration? Seabed surveys are done by every nation on the planet, and not all of them have oil. Belize especially has no commercial oil.


Edited by Rigrat (10/18/16 08:26 PM)

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#518381 - 10/18/16 10:00 PM Re: MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY [Re: Marty]
BrusselSprout Offline
So Belize with her LIMITED resources is paying for a mapping of the seafloor by Seabird - which bills itself as: a global provider of marine acquisition for 2D/3D and 4D seismic data, and associated products and services to the oil and gas industry.

Why would they do that?
_________________________
www.sanpedroscoop.com

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