Seismic surveys involved in oil and gas exploration and development employ powerful, repeated airgun pulses. This noise is dangerous for nearby animals and can force whales to move away from their best feeding areas.

Following the WGWAP’s recommendations, Sakhalin Energy postponed a seismic survey planned for 2009 until June 2010. Measures to monitor and minimize the impacts of the survey were developed collaboratively by the WGWAP and Sakhalin Energy, and were put in place by the company in 2010.

The planning for the 2010 Astokh 4D seismic survey represented a major investment of time by the WGWAP, Sakhalin Energy and the Seismic Survey Task Force (SSTF) of the WGWAP. The development of the final Monitoring and Mitigation Plan (MMP) was a result of five SSTF meetings and reviews at five WGWAP meetings. This was one of the most complete whale-focussed MMPs developed for a seismic survey anywhere in the world.