Introduction

Notify your intention to conduct a seismic survey in New Zealand continental water at least 3 months in advance. This should be followed by the submission of a Marine Mammal Impact Assessment.

Anyone planning to conduct a marine seismic survey in New Zealand continental waters in accordance with the Code is required to notify their intention to the Director-General at least 3 months in advance, in order to initiate the communication process. This should be followed by the submission of a Marine Mammal Impact Assessment (MMIA) at least one month prior to the start of the survey.

In the event of exceptional circumstances or an opportunistic survey arising within the three month notification period, the Director-General should be notified at the earliest opportunity but not less than two weeks before commencing the survey. The notification will be supported by:

Marine mammal observer using ‘big-eye’ binoculars. Image: Blue Planet Marine
Marine mammal observer using ‘big-eye’ binoculars

  • evidence of the exceptional or opportunistic nature of the survey and
  • a written MMIA.

Observer reports

During the course of a marine seismic survey, independent observers are required to record operational details in addition to data on all marine mammal observations on standardised, Excel-based reporting forms.

There are two versions of the form, depending on whether observations are made within the identified operational area (ON Survey) or whether opportunistic observations are made at other times (OFF Survey).

Note: Macros must be enabled in Excel while using these forms for all functionality to work. Basic instructions for the use of these forms are on the covering sheet of each form. The user guide for these forms is still under development and will be available on this website at a later date.

The qualified observers must submit all raw datasheets directly to the Director-General at the earliest opportunity but no longer than 14 days after completion of each deployment.

This Excel-based standardised observer reporting form will be subject to continual ongoing refinement throughout the duration of the Code as Marine Mammal Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring operators gain experience using the form in field conditions.

It is acknowledged that as the standardised form is a new product, there are likely to be significant modifications and refinements necessary before a final version is determined. It is essential that observers provide feedback on any issues experienced with the reporting form, and suggestions for improvements are welcomed.

Summary trip report

A written trip report summarising all relevant information needs to be submitted by the seismic survey project proponent to the Director-General at the earliest opportunity but no longer than 60 days after completion of the survey.

Notification and reporting process

All notifications and reporting described in this section should be submitted to marinemammals@doc.govt.nz (16 megabytes maximum file size) or sent to:

The Director-General
c/o Marine Species and Threats
Department of Conservation National Office
PO Box 10 420
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

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