[Top] [All Lists]

ECS statement on marine mammals and sound

Subject: ECS statement on marine mammals and sound
From: Dave Mellinger <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 09:09:42 -0700
Forwarded from "J.W. Broekema" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date:    Mon, 7 Jul 2003 23:38:25 +0200
 This is the final statement by the Council of the European Cetacean
 Society, based on the request of the ECS membership at the 2002 Annual
 Conference at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The statement and more info
 on the ECS can be found at the ECS web site.
 Marine mammals are acoustically diverse and present wide variations
 not only in ear anatomy, but also in hearing range and
 sensitivity. Cetacean middle and inner ears are structurally modified
 from those of terrestrial mammals in ways that accommodate rapid
 pressure changes. The same adaptations may, perhaps, provide
 protective mechanisms that lessen the risk of injury from acoustic
 impact, but no behavioural or psychometric studies are available to
 support or even address this issue.
 Given the fact that marine mammals depend on sound for all aspects of
 their life, there is no doubt that they are extremely vulnerable to
 man-made, underwater noise. In light of an alarming recent increase in
 mortality events, it is becoming clear that man-made noise, at
 different intensity levels, negatively affects cetacean populations in
 important ways (17th European Cetacean Society Conference, Las Palmas
 de Gran Canaria, March 2003: "Marine Mammals and Sound"). This
 includes, for example, the animals'displacement, avoidance reactions,
 collision with ships, stranding and death.
 Evidence is particularly strong that high intensity active sonar, and
 probably other loud noise sources, like those from shipping, gas
 exploration, seismic surveys, etc., cause lesions in acoustic organs
 which are severe enough to be lethal. The same sources may also
 produce behaviours that cause acute lesions which eventually lead the
 animals to strand and die (Active Sonar Workshop, 17th ECS Conference,
 March 2003).
 The current scientific knowledge on the effects of noise on marine
 mammals and their habitat is insufficient to understand the
 relationships of frequencies, intensities, and duration of exposures
 that produce injury.
 In the face of this uncertainty, the European Cetacean Society Council
 considers that:
 1 Research on the effects of man-made noise on marine mammals is
 urgently needed and must be conducted to the highest standards of
 scientific and public credibility, avoiding all conflicts of interest;
 2 Non-invasive mitigation measures must be developed and
 3 In areas of cetacean concentration, the use of underwater powerful
 noise sources should be limited until their short- and long-term
 effects on marine mammals are understood and can be taken into
 Objective parameters must be designed to assess the conservation of
 marine biodiversity and to help implement national and European
 policies on marine noise pollution.
 Kind regards,
 European Cetacean Society <a  href=""; 
 Jan Willem Broekema 
 Member of Council, web manager
 <a  href="[EMAIL" rel="nofollow">[EMAIL</a> PROTECTED]

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • ECS statement on marine mammals and sound, Dave Mellinger <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Bioacoustics-L mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU