Environmental Issues > Wildlife Main Page > All Wildlife Documents

Most whales and many other marine species depend on sound as they hunt for food, avoid predators, find mates, and maintain their awareness in the darkness of the sea. But over the past century the acoustic landscape of the ocean has been transformed by human activity -- intensely loud military sonar, oil-and-gas surveys, and the ever-increasing traffic of commercial ships. This noise can have impacts on marine life ranging from long-term behavioral change to hearing loss to death. This November 2005 second edition of NRDC's groundbreaking 1999 report on ocean noise has been completely rewritten to reflect the rapid growth of the scientific record. It reviews the science, surveys the leading contributors to the problem, and suggests what might be done to reduce the impacts of noise on the sea -- before the proliferation of noise sources makes the problem unmanageable.

Press release (11.21.05)
Protecting Whales from Dangerous Sonar (an overview)

Adobe Acrobat file (size: 2.4 mb)
Click here if you need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader (free)

Executive Summary
Chapter 1: The Rise of Ocean Noise
Chapter 2: Dynamite and Fog -- A Survey of Noise Sources
Chapter 3: The Tyranny of Small Decisions -- Domestic Regulation of Ocean Noise
Chapter 4: Noise Without Borders -- The Growing International Response


For printed copies of this report, see our Publications List.

last revised 11/17/2005

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

Donate to NRDC
Give the Gift That Will Make a Difference: Den Defender

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Switchboard Blogs

Songbird SOS
posted by Jennifer Sass, 12/3/15
New Report on the Destructive Impacts of Energy Development on Wildlife
posted by Amanda Jahshan, 11/24/15
No Room to Roam - New Top Ten Report Highlights the Isolation of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears
posted by Sylvia Fallon, 11/18/15

Related Stories

Return of the Black Rhinos
Namibia's black rhinos are now more valuable alive than dead.
In the Bay of Whales
Getting up close and personal with gray whales at Laguna San Ignacio.
Share | |
Find NRDC on