A whale tale

A group of oil companies and geophysical contractors is sponsoring development of a software program designed to improve the detection of marine mammals near seismic surveys and in underwater activities requiring explosives.Permits for offshore seismic surveys often require contractors to have qualified biologists or other trained observers aboard survey vessels to determine the presence of marine mammals that might be harmed by seismic shots.The animals, which include whales, dolphins, porpoises, dugongs, manatees, seals, and sea lions, must be at least 500 m from seismic operations in most cases.Seismic surveys are expensive, and false sightings that delay operations are costly. In addi...

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