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Soundings Archive

NGOs Claim Noisy Oceans Harm Whales
An alliance of wildlife and conservation groups attending the United Nations Environment Programme's Convention on Migratory Species conference in Rome claimed that oceans and seas are becoming noisier with more vessels, increased seismic surveys for oil and gas, off-shore construction and recreation, and a new generation of military sonars. They warned that the increased noise harms marine mammals like whales that use sound to communicate, forage for food and find mates. They asked governments and industry to adopt quieter engines for ships, tighter rules on the use of seismic surveys, and new, less intrusive sonar technologies by navies.

The alliance is named the International Fund for Animal Welfare. At the CMS conference they issued a report entitled "Ocean Noise: Turn it Down." The report claims to show that the distance over which blue whales can communicate is down by 90 percent as a result of increased noise.

Veronica Frank, an attorney with the wildlife alliance, said, "We are calling for wide-ranging action, including a requirement that builders and owners of all vessels, from super-tankers down, working with the competent international body, factor noise reduction measures into vessels' design and operation at the outset."

  • Click here to read "Ocean Noise: Turn it Down"

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