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The Dolphins in the Algarve versus Oil and Gas Exploration - A Recipe for Disaster!

One of the most publicized activities in the Algarve to tourists and residents alike is the fact that we have abundant and healthy dolphin colonies in our ocean. Thousands of photographs can be found on the Internet showcasing mankind’s love for this gentle sea creature with many of them being taken during vacations in the Algarve by thousands of visitors (tourists) and hundreds of local residents.

Dolphin watching is a fun and clean activity with limited negative impacts. It accounts for hundreds of local jobs not to mention that it injects much needed funds into our local communities. But this activity is now under serious threat by oil and gas interests.

There is enough evidence worldwide that oil and gas exploration and development generates intense noise pollution which impacts on dolphins negativelly. That it degrades their habitats over long periods of time spanning many decades it is also a fact that it is well known.

Our Portuguese government and local communities should agree that such "fossil fuels/hydrocarbons" activities are unacceptable, dolphin watching is very important to tourism.

Join us and say NO to activities that are sure to negatively impact on the Algarve vulnerable dolphin population.

Did you know, that the lifetime of an oil and gas platform is measured, not in years, but in decades and that in that time oil and gas exploration and production can affect the dolphins well-being in many different ways?

It is known that dolphins are extremely sensitive to sound (noise).

The introduction of loud noise into their environment will indeed impact on their ability to navigate safely, find food and even communicate with each other.  It can cause them to flee from areas that are ecologically vital for their survival, because to not do so, would mean that they will be harmed or even killed.

Seismic testing underwater with sound levels over 180-190 decibels are extremely dangerous for marine mammals: if they are within 450-500 metres they will lose their hearing permanently. If they get within 150 metres where the sound reaches 245 decibels, the dolphins will die.

And if the dolphins leaves our waters or die, this will have a direct impact in the Algarve tourism sector economic sustainability.

Looking at the life cycle of oil and gas programmes and its relationship to noise, initially, noise polution happens when oil and gas deposits are found through seismic surveys which use air guns to send bursts of intense sound through the water in all directions. Later on, when production starts there is very noisy drilling events taking place, not to mention that there is also an increase in transportation and supply vessels in the area. And once the specific project reaches its end-of life stage, then we have the decommissioning phase which often includes removing structures from the seabed using explosives.  

But there is no doubt that the greatest risk to our dolphins and to the Algarve economy, comes from planed exploration of the Algarve Basin’s and later on, with the production of new sites in areas that are important to the dolphins and which covers the entire Algarve as well as the Alentejo’s basins. 

Many blocks of seabeds that are the dolphins’ normal habitats have been included in the recent oil and gas licensing rounds without any thought being given to marine life by the Portuguese authorities or the oil companies.

There is no doubt that all of us need to be satisfied that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of all the special nature conservation areas, nor on our dolphin and other marine populations living in the Algarve waters. Because to ignore it, will result in the loss of many current tourism activity jobs that are sustaining the local economy coupled with the lack of any jobs in the future for local communities. If you believe that the majority of the oil and gas jobs will go to local residents, think again. The majority of the jobs and contracting will go to other areas, not to mention to other countries.

If you believe like we do:

  • that it is important to maintain our tourism industry in the Algarve,
  • that it is important to safeguard the jobs that currently exist and to create more tourism and aligned industry jobs,
  • that it is important to safeguard the Algarve’s dolphin and marine populations,

then join us in our campaign. Sign the petition, donate, buy a T-shirt or volunteer so that we have the numbers and the resources to run with this campaign and to make a real difference.  

If you really love the Algarve and love Dolphins … DO YOUR BIT ... because the Algarve needs you and so do our beautiful dolphins.

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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
    NIPC: 510 381 952
    Tel: 00 351 282 182 103
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    asmaa-algarve.org
    Rua Dr. Alberto Iria
    Lote 12, R/C Esq
    Porto de Môs
    Lagos 8600-580
    Portugal
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