Multiple - Before After Control Impact (M-BACI) analysis of the effect of a 3D marine seismic survey on Danish Seine catch rates
Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd
Apart from the general concern regarding impacts of seismic on commercial fishing, there is specific concern from fishers operating in Bass Strait that, as one of the larger 3D surveys in the region, the CGG MSS will: 1) interrupt their fishing activities as they will not be able to work in active zones while the MSS is taking place; and, 2) negatively impact on the fishing catch rates both during and after the MSS. There is a lot of anecdotal information from fishers about the impact of MSS on fishing but very little quantitative data to support claims of adverse impacts. With CGG support, a Multiple Before After Control-Impact (M-BACI) survey was designed by Fishwell Consulting to address the second issue, particularly the level of impact on Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE) of key species to the Danish Seine fleet in the area, namely Eastern School Whiting (Silago flindersii) and Tiger Flathead (Neoplatycephalus richardsonii). It is intended to apply this survey design during the upcoming CGG MSS due to commence in January 2020. CGG has agreed to fund $300,000 towards an M-BACI survey of Danish Seine catch rates. This proposal is submitted to FRDC to seek additional funding to conduct a survey over at least two periods: Period 1 survey during or immediately after the MSS, and depending on the results from the initial survey, Period 2 survey, 2-4 months following the MSS. The results will be of value not just in Bass Strait but could have significant ramifications around Australia in areas where oil and gas fields exist around productive fishing grounds.
1. Examine effect of seismic testing on Danish seine catch rates of Tiger Flathead
2. Examine effect of seismic testing on Danish seine catch rates of Eastern School Whiting
3. Consider the results of the survey with respect to future marine seismic exploration impact on fisheries