Leading Experts Call for Action to Combat Ocean Noise

Today two of the world’s leading marine mammal experts published an op-ed on CNN.com, calling on the U.S. to recognize a major threat to marine life: the rapidly rising level of chronic underwater noise off our coasts.  It’s titled, Turn down the volume in the ocean.

As the experts explain, “Whales, dolphins and seals use sounds to communicate, navigate, find food and detect predators. The rising level of cumulative noise from energy exploration, offshore development and commercial shipping is a constant disruption on their social networks. For life in today's ocean, the basic activities that we depend on for our lives on land are being eroded by the increasing amount of human noise beneath the waves.  These stark realities are worrying. But emerging technologies for quantifying and visualizing the effects of noise pollution can help drive a paradigm shift in how we perceive, monitor, manage and mitigate human sounds in the ocean. Ocean noise is a global problem, but the U.S. should step up and lead the way.”

     Blue whale

They go on to identify concrete actions the U.S. can take to stem the loss of acoustic habitats for marine species.

This is an important call to action.  So much of our ocean life – from whales to commercial fish – depend on sound for their survival.  The Obama administration needs to heed the call, and start reining in the noise from offshore oil and shipping that’s eroding the marine environment.

 Photo credit: NOAA

About the Authors

Michael Jasny

Director, Marine Mammal Protection Project, Land & Wildlife program

Join Us