What the hell is wrong with Shell?
Des 2021

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Let me answer this question very succinctly...

Shell’s proposed seismic survey off the eastern coast of southern Africa is a supreme example of unbridled corporate greed. Nothing more, nothing less.


I am astounded that any company should dare announce such a survey, weeks after the damning evidence of global ecological collapse presented at Cop 26 in Scotland.  Scientists, concerned and deeply committed scientists, presented a harrowing picture of the depleted end ravaged state of our living planet, supported by refereed journal articles and data.  This is the very nature of science, to publish articles on what we know.  Whether their results are right or wrong does not matter since by its nature, science is systematised knowledge, which is self-regulating.  This means that bad or faulty data is peer relieved and, unlike dogma, replaced with the correct results.


We know that our oceans are stressed to its biological limits by pollution, climate change, overfishing and physical disturbance.  We know that our ocean’s wildlife, especially whales and dolphins, are under threat of extinction in many parts of the world, but also that we have had successes in South Africa in stabilizing the catastrophic decline of some species.  Just recently I was in Mozambique, and marvelled at the sight of Southern Right Whales lolling undisturbed in these lovely waters.


Southern Right Whale


But now, just as alternative and sustainable energy sources are coming online, after decades of research and development, Shell has the po faced audacity to propose this survey.  Looking at their website , I am astounded at the torrent of greenwash, and even worse, posturing.  I quote: “South Africa is currently highly reliant on energy imports for many of its energy needs.”  Really?  This holds true for practically the entire planet.   To present themselves as energy saviours is bordering on the absurd.


It would be tiresome to quote the entire literature on this subject in a popular and non-scientific forum, but I will cite a number of seminal articles at the end of this piece.  The article in the Canadian Journal of Zoology is especially pertinent in this regard.  I quote from the Abstract:  “The recurrent conclusion about the need for considering context of exposure, in addition to RL, when assessing probability and severity of behavioural responses led us to conduct a systematic literature review (370 papers) and analysis (79 studies, 195 data cases).”  This is no thumb suck.



In their summary, the following:

It is clear from this review that a generalized predictive model of acoustic behavioural impact, mediated via behavioural responses (i.e., via a linear severity scale) and based upon RL and context, is challenging at best and is currently unfeasible with the data sets available in the published literature. This is because the studies that we reviewed, which represent the best available science on the effects of noise on the behaviour of marine mammals to date, while aggregated and analysed in detail, did not provide complete, clear, and consistent information on pressure/response relationships and related contextual information.


The results presented in this review summarize what many individual studies have also concluded: the monitoring and regulation of sublethal impacts of noise on cetaceans should not rely entirely and solely upon generic RL thresholds. As a result, regulators continuing to base assessments of behavioural and other sublethal impacts of noise exposure on marine mammals solely on generic RL are failing to properly evaluate these impacts, and thus also fall short of properly managing and mitigating these effects.


I am convinced that Shell is offering the public incomplete and skewed information, and it now lies with the public to respond. This is my response.  Until Shell can provide a scientific response to the tax paying public of this country, we should stand united in our condemnation.  If they fail to do this, we should unite in not buying their products.



A systematic review on the behavioural responses of wild marine mammals to noise: the disparity between science and policy.

A critical examination of worldwide guidelines for minimising the disturbance to marine mammals during seismic surveys. 

Effects of Noise on Marine Mammals.

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