+ Officer’s firing is not enough
Regarding the article “Police chief keeps job,” I feel some justice has been brought to these men, but, in my opinion, it wasn’t enough. I mean the only thing that happened to the officer (Christopher Childers) was losing his job.
No jail, no nothing. Come on, if your average Joe were caught on camera doing what these men did, he would be looking at some jail time. Not just a slap on the wrist. When someone becomes a police officer he takes an oath swearing to enforce the law to the full extent. In this case, these men completely disregarded this and should be punished to the full extent of the law.
+ Seismic guns don’t kill fish
Daniel M. Zumbro’s well-written letter regarding offshore seismic survey work raises a good point that needs to be addressed.
The currently used energy source for a marine seismic survey is indeed an air-gun array using underwater air guns of varying size and power to diminish the noise that would be generated by using a single gun or guns of the same size. In effect, it diminishes the “bubble” from a single, large gun that would cause unwanted noise. Noise interferes with the recording of the desired subsurface reflections.
Before air guns were developed 30 or 40 years ago, seismic survey vessels used dynamite as an energy source. Dynamite did indeed generate an extremely vicious shockwave that, although it provided a lot of acoustic energy for the survey, also was deadly to fish and animal life.
Moreover, they were dangerous to the survey crewmembers who had to make up the charges, wire them, drop them overboard and make sure that they didn’t wire up the wrong charge. Accidents happened, and they were fatal to crewmembers.
Air-gun arrays were developed to overcome the fish/human danger and, being trailed underwater at all times, do not present such a danger.
I have ridden working seismic survey vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and in the North Sea, and I have never seen a dead fish. I just called a geophysical colleague of mine who also said that he had never seen a dead fish.
Today’s huge survey vessels pull six, eight or even 10 recording streamers — versus the one or two streamers that used to be trailed behind a vessel — to cover more area with fewer “lines” or “tracks” or passes.
I’m glad Mr. Zumbro used the term “possibly” in referring to causing deaths to marine life because it corresponds with my own experience.
By the way, I have seen millions of dead fish on our beaches and in our canals. Their death was caused by red tide, not seismic vessels, and so far there is nothing anyone can do about that. Just like the tar balls on the beaches that come from hundreds of sea-bottom oil seeps that no one can do anything about.
In my humble opinion, there is a greater chance of two years of red tide than an oil-blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, and that could really screw up the Florida tourist industry.
Weldon G. Frost
Retired petroleum geologist