Evaluating the impact of seismic prospecting on artisanal shrimp fisheries

José M. Andriguetto-Filho, Antonio Ostrensky, Marcio R. Pie*, Ubiratã A. Silva, Walter A. Boeger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The constant need to discover new hydrocarbon deposits is causing the use of air-guns to become a very widespread method of seismic prospecting. However, there is still disagreement regarding their impact on the marine environment. This uncertainty is particularly severe in the case of shellfish, which account for a substantial share of commercial fisheries and seafood trade in many parts of the world. In this paper we report on the first study to explicitly assess the impact of seismic prospecting on shrimp resources. We measured bottom trawl yields of a nonselective commercial shrimp fishery comprising the Southern white shrimp, Litopenaeus schmitti, the Southern brown shrimp, Farfantepenaeus subtilis, and the Atlantic Seabob, Xyphopenaeus kroyeri (Decapoda: Penaeidae), before and after the use of an array of four synchronized air-guns, each with 635 in3 of total capacity, 2.000 psi, and peak pressure of 196 dB (re 1 μPa at 1 m). Our results did not detect significant deleterious impact of seismic prospecting on the studied species, suggesting that shrimp stocks are resilient to the disturbance by air-guns under our experimental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1720-1727
Number of pages8
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • Air-guns
  • Seismic prospecting
  • Shrimp fisheries
  • Shrimp trawling yields
  • Sound pollution


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