University Of Tasmania
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A large-scale experiment finds no evidence that a seismic survey impacts a demersal fish fauna

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 12:31 authored by Meekan, MG, Speed, CW, McCauley, RD, Fisher, R, Birt, MJ, Currey-Randall, LM, Jayson SemmensJayson Semmens, Newman, SJ, Cure, K, Stowar, M, Vaughan, B, Parsons, MJG
Seismic surveys are used to locate oil and gas reserves below the seabed and can be a major source of noise in marine environments. Their effects on commercial fisheries are a subject of debate, with experimental studies often producing results that are difficult to interpret. We overcame these issues in a large-scale experiment that quantified the impacts of exposure to a commercial seismic source on an assemblage of tropical demersal fishes targeted by commercial fisheries on the North West Shelf of Western Australia. We show that there were no short-term (days) or long-term (months) effects of exposure on the composition, abundance, size structure, behavior, or movement of this fauna. These multiple lines of evidence suggest that seismic surveys have little impact on demersal fishes in this environment.


Publication title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Natl Acad Sciences

Place of publication

2101 Constitution Ave Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20418

Rights statement

© 2021. The Authors. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified; Marine biodiversity; Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems