Estudos Especiais do CRE

The Center of Regulatory and Effectiveness Brazil (“CRE Brazil”), is a nonprofit, non-government organization located in São Paulo city. Our mission is to ensure that: 1) the data which governmental agencies disseminate to the public is of the highest quality; and 2) the public has access to the data used to develop governmental policies. CRE Brazil is associated with The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (Washington, D.C.) (“CRE”): an internationally recognized organization whose mission
is to improve the federal regulatory process.

The Draft Guidance’s apparent position is that the effects of ocean noise on marine life are largely unknown, and that a “precautionary principle” must therefore be applied when assessing and regulating noise. This position is incorrect. The United States (“U.S.”) and other countries have regulated seismic and other anthropogenic noise in the ocean for decades. The effects of that noise and regulation have been studied extensively. No study has found a population level change in marine mammals caused by exposure to anthropogenic noise. For example, with regard to offshore oil and gas seismic exploration, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences/National Council concluded that “there have been no known instances of injury, mortality, or population level effects on marine mammals from seismic exposure” during decades of seismic in the offshore U.S. That seismic was and still is conducted in compliance with long-standing regulation and mitigation.

This regulation and mitigation includes pre-survey environmental and risk assessments; cetacean-free zones around the seismic source vessel; marine mammal observers; soft-start of seismic energy sources(gradual ramp-up of sound); and recent use of PAMGUARD. With these measures in place the level of sound that actually reaches a marine mammal outside the exclusion zone is significantly reduced and not harmful.

The Draft Guidance should be revised to reflect these facts, and to eliminate any recommendation that extra precaution be taken. There is no uncertainty that warrants extra precaution.

The Draft Guidance should be also be revised to discuss PAMGUARD and to encourage its use whenever marine mammals might be affected by marine sound. There is no basis for the Draft Guidance’s limitation of passive acoustic monitoring (“PAM”) to blasting operations. PAM is being recommended for required use offshore Brazil and elsewhere during sound-producing operations. Consequently, PAM and its freely available version PAMGUARD are among the main reasons why CRE Brazil is filing these comments on the Noise Report. We would be pleased to work with the Department to further the use and proper application of PAMGUARD.

We also have some comments on the mitigation provisions in the Draft Guidance, Section 4.2, pages 19-25, “Operational/activity-specific guidance.” These and the rest of our comments are discussed in detail below.

CRE Brazil welcomes questions at e-mail:, and we thank you for the opportunity to submit these comments. We look forward to the Department’s response.

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