Hundreds of locals will gather at a Newcastle beach to protest against seismic blasting, set to begin off the coast this week, which they say will kill marine life and harm migrating whales.
The seismic survey site, off Newcastle, stretches across about 12.25 square kilometres and involves the firing of a sonic gun every 6.25 metres over 208km of lines on the coastline which becomes a playground for migrating whales every year from June.
Federal regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority approved energy company Asset Energy to complete the petrol and oil testing between March 15 and May 31.
"There's been worldwide scientific and community opposition to seismic testing and successful moratoriums implemented," said Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle founder and long-term local resident Natasha Deen in a statement.
She said it's "incredibly destructive" on the whole ecosystem.
"If a human diver was directly under the survey ship there would be a high risk of serious injury or death," she said.
Locals, along with Green's MLC Jeremy Buckingham, Newcastle councillor John Mackenzie and Greenpeace members, will gather at Nobbys Beach at 1pm on Sunday to protest over the testing.
"The federal government has imposed this blasting on our community without proper community consultation despite protests from NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin, despite unanimous objection from our council, and despite growing evidence of the dangers of seismic testing," said Ms Deen.
In the exploration for oil or gas, seismic testing involves blasts of air being fired every few seconds 24 hours a day for three to four days during that period.
The area is home to 22 threatened species, 23 migratory species and 32 whale species, according to the seismic survey environment plan.
While the annual whale migration officially begins on June 1, whales can be seen off the coast as early as the second week of May, Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Nathaniel Pelle previously told AAP.
"Whale sightings off the coast of Sydney are an almost daily occurrence from the second week of May meaning there's a high likelihood that seismic testing could impact these much-loved creatures if it goes ahead at the end of the approved window," Mr Pelle said in a statement.
"Whales and other endangered species do not adhere to the Gregorian calendar and do not know the difference between May 31 and June 1."
Australian Associated Press