The Government has issued petrol and mining exploration permits along New Zealand’s coastline in marine mammal sanctuaries, stuff.co.nz reports.
Oil companies have been granted 10 permits in four of the protected areas.
Green Party MP Gareth Hughes said that the exploration would threaten rare sea creatures. He stated: “Mineral exploitation will be able to happen where we are supposed to be protecting threatened animals.”
He added that there are concerns about the usage of airguns during seismic testing.
Associate professor Steve Dawson, an Otago University marine scientist, said: “These air guns are the loudest source that is possible to use without using explosives.
“You would have thought that it would have been a good idea in those very sensitive areas to be a little bit more precautionary.”
The Government says it will regulate seismic testing by placing observers on surveying ships.
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said: “The sanctuaries were originally created as a result of the maui’s and hector’s dolphins Threat Management Plan. We have brought forward the review of this plan to make sure we are doing all we can to protect these rare treasures.”
There are currently no reports of mining in an MMS.
Subsea World News Staff , June 26, 2012; Image: Nautilus Minerals