Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

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The first of this July we submitted our comments to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap. As submitted for public review we were generally pleased with the tone and essence of the work. It leaned toward a more systematic and “ecosystem based” view of the ocean – including words such as “Soundscape” and “Acoustic Habitat.” The map included the need to understand noise impacts on fishes and marine invertebrates in the context of their roles in the ecosystem. It also included considerations for the soundscape quality – and how the impacts of continuous or chronic noise might compromise habitat, even while that noise might not trigger a regulator threshold.

NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

The entire document was a breath of air – albeit not necessarily “fresh” as we have been harping on these considerations for years in our comments and critiques of the various Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) submitted by NOAA for public review. What the Roadmap does then is canonize these many concerns in a NOAA document – which will allow us to refer to “the whole cloth” when making future comments on DEIS’s as opposed to digging up the most current published papers to substantiate our points and concerns.

We did make a number of recommendations. Some a bit technical for this newsletter, others sensible – like expanding research into noise impacts relative to noise qualities and evaluating noise impacts of new communication signals being introduced into the ocean.

We were honored to have a number of groups sign on to the critique – giving it a bit more gravitas.

The one thing that was conspicuously absent from the Roadmap was an Action Plan. While some of the issues are being advanced by NOAA, there is no timeline. So in balance the Roadmap will be helpful to us in highlighting our concerns, but it will limit its utility if NOAA leaves it in the glovebox.

NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

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3 comments for “Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

  1. mstocker
    August 2, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    It sounds like you have a noise problem. Thank your lucky stars that there are residential noise ordinances that you can bring to bear on these problems. By comparison noise regulations in the ocean are barely rudimentary. Imaging being a resident of the sea and having no redress on noises every bit as annoying as these airborne noises of which you speak.

  2. Barbara Barron
    August 7, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for having samples of the various man made ocean noises. Low frequency sound is torturous for many people. Google for and take a look at the “world hum map”. All the dots represent self reporting sufferers. Every dot has a narrative written by the person who is suffering. Nobody seems to know the source of the sound. I wonder if it is seismic surveys.

  3. August 26, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Not having the map it would be hard to determine. although some folks are hyper-sensitive to humming due to electrical current and appliances. This is a torment, but we humans can seek the source and mitigate or move away. Animals in the ocean are not necessarily so fortunate.when it comes to escaping human generated noise.

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