More needed to protect seals, porpoises from underwater noise

Photo credit: Pixabay

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report from Science Daily describes research done in Denmark and published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America about underwater noise regulations and how noise affects seals and porpoises. Water transmits sound very well, and marine mammals have excellent hearing, which they use to find prey and to communicate with each other.

To protect their hearing, regulators have relied on data developed by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, but the researchers report that these guidelines are seven years old and need to be updated. Among the agencies issuing regulations are the Danish Energy Agency.

Porpoises and seals are common marine mammals in shallow western European waters, the site now of wind farm development. The new research showed that low frequency sounds had adverse impacts on seals, and high frequency sounds on porpoises.

The Danish guidelines reflect the new knowledge. We hope the new information will lead to updated underwater noise regulations worldwide.

Because as we often say, a quieter world will be a better and healthier world for all, including marine mammals and fishes.


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