Regulatory News


UNEP has produced a report entitled Scientific Synthesis on the Impacts of Underwater Noise on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity and Habitats. This Noise Report is to be reviewed at the sixteenth meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.

A copy of this Noise Report is available online at:
http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-16/information/sbstta-16-inf-12-en.pdf.

CRE Brazil is concerned that the Noise Report is marred by bias and inaccuracies. These flaws could bar its use by regulatory bodies. These flaws also impede its use as a basis for further research into the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine life.

The Noise Report’s position is that the effects of ocean noise on marine life are largely unknown; that current regulatory requirements are inadequate; and that a “precautionary principle” must therefore be applied when assessing and regulating noise. In fact, the U.S. and other countries have regulated anthropogenic noise in the ocean for decades. The effects of that noise and regulation have been studied extensively. There is no evidence of any adverse population level effects. For example, with regard to oil and gas offshore seismic exploration, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council concluded that “there have been no known instances of injury, mortality, or population level effects on marine mammals from seismic exposure” despite decades of seismic in the offshore U.S. in compliance with long-standing regulation.

This Report encourages the development and use of Passive Acoustic Monitoring (“PAM”) as another tool to help prevent sea life from being injured by anthropogenic sound in the water. A recent Brazilian study recommended at page 415 that PAM be required for vessels conducting seismic in Brazilian waters.

This Brazilian PAM study is available online at:
http://www.aprh.pt/rgci/pdf/rgci-251_Parente.pdf.

CRE Brazil agrees that PAM should be used to help protect sea life. Consequently, we submitted comments on the Noise Report. Our comments emphasized the availability of PAMGUARD, which is an open-source version of PAM that has been developed and made freely available by the OGP E&P Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Program.

The PAMGUARD website is at:
http://www.pamguard.org/home.shtml.

CRE Brazil comments are available at:
http://www.thecre.com/sefIPD/?p=169

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