Company denies exploration plans will impact marine life

Bight Petroleum has rejected claims its plan to explore for oil and gas off the coast of South Australia's Kangaroo Island will impact on marine life.

Environmentalists want the Federal Government to stop the company from doing seismic surveys.

Bight Petroleum wants to explore for the resources about 100 kilometres from the island next year, using a 100-metre long ship to perform three dimensional surveys.

The Greens have moved twice in the Senate for the exploration licence to be cancelled, but both motions were defeated.

The surveys are planned for early next year.

The company's chief operating officer Iain MacDougall says there is no documented evidence seismic testing harms marine life.

"We are as concerned as anyone about the environment, and Australia has a very, very robust regulatory regime, one of the most robust in the world," he said.

The Member for Finniss and Kangaroo Island resident, Michael Pengilly, says he believes enough protections are in place.

"I think we need to bring balance into this, you need to have things to drive the economy forward sensibly and oil and gas search is one of those," he said.

But Greens Senator Penny Wright says the testing will emit a loud pulse underwater, which could be damaging to marine life.

"We know particularly that whales rely on sound to communicate and seismic surveys can destroy their hearing," she said.

"It can also cause organ damage...

It can also change their behaviour which disrupts their feeding and their breeding patterns."

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