Seismic in a marine environment

We regulate seismic activities in certain parts of the Canadian offshore under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Geophysical Operations Regulations. Marine seismic programs produce sound in a marine environment that might have lethal or sub-lethal effects on animals, such as on their ability to eat, move, communicate, reproduce, and sustain themselves.

The last marine seismic program was conducted in 2012 in the Beaufort Sea. Since then, no further marine seismic programs have been conducted. A prohibition order issued in 2019 does not allow for such programs in the Canadian Arctic offshore until the end of 2021.

Learn more about the moratorium in the Canadian Arctic offshore.

What we expect

We expect companies to follow the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s (DFO’s) Statement of Canadian Practice with respect to the Mitigation of Seismic Sound in the Marine Environment. The statement includes set of mitigation measures that can help reduce harm from seismic activity in a marine environment.

Companies that want to conduct marine seismic activities in CER-regulated offshore areas must get the CER’s authorization and demonstrate that they are complying with all legislation and regulatory requirements.

Related documents

See our section on the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act for a full list of related regulations and guidance.

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