WWF Report: Noisy oceans dampening whale romance



Posted on 14 February 2014  | 
Killer whale / Orca (Orcinus orca) at surface in front of a herring fishing boat, Kristiansund, Nordmore, Norway, February 2009
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Nils Aukan / WWFEnlarge
A new report from WWF details the problems increasingly noisy oceans are creating for whales. Those problems include finding mates, finding food, and potentially driving whales away from prime habitat.

“We’re finding evidence of increasing levels of noise in all of our oceans” say Aimee Leslie, Global Cetacean and Marine Turtle Manager for WWF. “Large ship traffic, offshore oil exploration and development, and military exercises are all contributing to a barrage of noise buffeting ocean life. This cacophony is hard on cetaceans that use sound for essential communication. We are particularly concerned about the impacts of sound in previously quiet oceans, such as the Arctic.”

The report finds there are methods of both quietening the oceans, and reducing the impacts of noise on whales. Key recommendations include:
  • Immediate action to reduce ocean noise at its source
  • Further research on technologies to reduce noise created by oil exploration, commercial shipping, and pile driving
  • Making parts of the ocean important for whales off limits to big noise producing activities, especially during sensitive times (such as calving)
  • Swift and effective implementation and regulation based on coming IMO guidelines on reducing ocean noise from shipping.
“The key is taking immediate action to reduce noise where we can,” says Leslie. “We can wait for better technologies and more research, but we already have enough information to know ocean noise is a problem, and we already have some tools to start fixing it.”

For more information

Aimée Leslie (Email)
Global Cetacean and Marine Turtle Manager
WWF International
Tel: +41 22 364 9503
Mobile: +41 79 800 9725

David Hirsch (Email)
Head, Media Relations
WWF International
ph: +41 22 364 9554


About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

Photos


Killer whale / Orca (Orcinus orca) at surface in front of a herring fishing boat, Kristiansund, Nordmore, Norway, February 2009. © Wild Wonders of Europe /Nils Aukan / WWF


The Transocean drillship, Discoverer Enterprise, prepares to conduct a recovery operation for BP, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; using a specially built dome at the sea floor in Robert, Louisiana on Monday, 03 May 2010. © United States Coast Guard/Transocean


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Sounds provided by the Scripps Whale Acoustics Laboratory, UCSD

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Floating oil platform thrusters


Stationary oil platform


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Bowhead song


Sea ice

Killer whale / Orca (Orcinus orca) at surface in front of a herring fishing boat, Kristiansund, Nordmore, Norway, February 2009
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Nils Aukan / WWF Enlarge

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