In keeping with the title of this workshop, I have chosen my title to be even more provocative! I will summarise the main concerns put forward as being representative of this “big issue,” such as “the increasing levels of sound discharged in the oceans (by the petroleum industry) may prevent cetaceans communicating (masking effect) and hence have a negative impact on their life functions” or even “the oil industry’s activities may have a very significant impact in harming and even killing cetaceans and fish in the marine environment. It could even lead to their extinction!” Note the devious use of the words “may” or “could” in these claims made by those who most vocally express opposition to seismic surveys. In parallel, I will outline the facts and observations that surely point to such claims being conjecture (I provocatively call them “myths!”). Finally, I will explore what I consider to be the most likely motives that a variety of generic organisations (such as environmental NGOs, political parties, various levels of government and even sections of the petroleum industry) have for ignoring the facts, making the claims, spreading the misinformation and propagating the myths in order to make this issue “big business.”


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