June 13, 2024

Evolution of Marine Noise Pollution Management


Sarah J. Dolman and Michael Jasny


Abstract: This paper will review landmarks in American and European marine noise science and manage­ment, reflecting a changing scientific and regula­tory focus from acute, near-field effects on beaked whales to impacts on a wider range of species and their “acoustic habitat” over broader temporal and spatial scales. Increases in the scale of noise associ­ated with human activities has led to greater levels of research and management. Although mitigation within the United States and Europe is principally aimed at reducing risk from acute effects of indi­vidual activities, regulators are moving in sig­nificant ways towards cumulative, multi-sectoral impact management. Solutions to be discussed include source-quieting methods and technologies for commercial shipping, pile driving, and seis­mic survey noise; spatial management through the use of programmatic and strategic environmental assessments, particularly for active sonar; and noise budget caps—for example, as a potential outcome of the European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive. This paper also will identify the most pressing data needs for con­servation management, including data on impacts (e.g., the impacts of offshore windfarm construc­tion and operation on baleen whales), effective mitigation methods and technology (such as noise reduction standards for individual commercial ships), and cumulative effects (including impacts of chronic stress on cetacean morbidity, survival, and reproduction).

Key Words: noise pollution, cetacean, policy, legislation, MMPA, EU MSFD, U.S., Europe

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1578/AM.41.4.2015.357

Page Numbers: 357-374

Info SKU: Vol__41__Iss__4__Dolman Category: