There is a lot more ocean noise now than it was a few decades ago. The man made noise ranges from shipping and construction to oil drilling. But this noise affects ocean life, and it leads to stressing the animals that inhabit our oceans. When you hear of beached wales or baby crabs with no orientation, think of ocean noise.
However, America wants to change that through a federal program that could make activities less noisy. This is going to regulate shipping of the coast, dredging, and oil exploration to make less of a racket.
Richard Merrick, chief science adviser for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says scientists have been observing ocean noise ever since the seventies. Now, they plan on doing something about it. And they’re still debating the best course of action.
The draft is going to request limiting noises and putting together a listening system. It will also creat an online archive of noise information, with plenty of recordings, to measure against information on where marine creatures dwell.
The plan calls for more scientific inquiries on the effects of noise on marine life and a more coordinated movement, between environmental groups, industrial companies, the government and the army.
For now, data is precious, and there’s not much of it either. Only 17 percent of species of marine mammals are monitored, to date. There are also worries about the Arctic seas which have become noisier and noisier as they open for shipping. And, of course, global warming has to be taken into consideration as well.
However, many scientists admit the oceans were never quiet. During millions of years, oceans experienced deafening sounds, from the sounds that whales make to thunder storms. But marine life adapted to cope with those sounds.
Man-made noise made by seismic guns, used for finding oil, windmills that produce electricity and ice breakers have all led to a drastic increase of the sound level animals of the oceans experience.
Now, many companies are starting to invest in quiet technology. And the EU has introduced targets for ocean noise.
But some scientists think it isn’t realistic to try and obtain a pre-historic noise level.
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Image Source – Wikipedia