The OceaNoise2017 conference I attended this May was more than a playpen for “ocean noise elites.” There was a structure to the event which drew an arc over the dominant themes of the Ocean Noise topic.
I was honored to be included in the opening panel on “metrics” (my particular bias). We can discuss “impacts” all we want, but unless we can quantify that discussion it remains adrift in speculation. Metrics also informs the topic of the session on “Mapping and Modeling.” The ocean is way too large to measure, so much of what we “see” of the sea is a product of maps and models. If the metrics aren’t right the models mean little; but without the models the metrics are just numbers to those who need know their meaning.
Those who need to know the meaning are those in management and policy – which was how we finished up the first day. Ultimately all of our work is for naught if it doesn’t inform practice, which is what happens when policy is crafted and executed through management.
As the US Administration (and over half of the US Congress) began plunging into the swamp of industrial “conservation” priorities, friend, conservation colleague, and Amazon Watch founder Randy Hayes advised us to work internationally until the smoke settles. With this in mind I found the presentations from European experts informative and encouraging. The EU is implementing ocean policy through the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which seems much less contentious than the US strategy of implementing marine conservation policies across a number of agencies (BOEM, NOAA, EPA, FWS, etc…) which can sometimes be at odds with each other’s respective missions.
The balance of the week focused on issues that excite “ocean noise elites;” impulse and pile driving noise, seismic survey technologies, animal perception and pathologies, shipping, polar soundscapes, etc. which I will likely examine in more detail later, but are a bit too technical to titrate here into short newsletter bites.
Like any good stew that is best simmered long and eaten later; whether in specifics or in flavor, what I gathered at the OceaNoise2017 conference will show up in these notes, and hopefully inform the larger ocean noise conversation.