STRIVE 120 - Assessment and Monitoring of Ocean Noise in Irish Waters

STRIVE 120 - Suzanne Beck, Ian O'Connor, Simon Berrow, Joanne O'Brien

Summary: Sources of anthropogenic (man-made) ocean noise include noise emitted from activities such as shipping, seismic surveying, geophysical surveying, construction, oil drilling and production, dredging, sonar systems, acoustic deterrents and most recently from the construction and operation of renewable energy platforms. Anthropogenic ocean noise can elicit a range of physical, physiological and behavioural effects on marine animals.

Published: 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84095-526-2

Pages: 97

Filesize: 3,326KB

Format: pdf

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Key points/ Findings
• A review of existing noise monitoring programmes and available equipment and an assessment of strategies and technical solutions for a long term noise monitoring programme, for Irish waters was undertaken.
• There is a considerable amount of existing infrastructure deployed in Irish waters from which ocean noise measurements could be made.
• As a step towards collaborative monitoring and regional reporting under MSFD this project worked towards producing a common register of impulsive noise. Data of seismic surveys conducted in UK waters in 2011 and 2012 were obtained from the JNCC and the DECC in the UK and mapped alongside seismic surveys conducted in Irish waters during the same timeframe.
• A long-term deployment was designed to obtain a dataset for analysis and test the efficacy of monitoring  equipment provided by the Spanish partners  UPC LAB, in Irish waters) also providing the first real-time monitoring of noise in Irish waters, while allowing for public participation through www.listentothedeep.com real time access.
• Shipping analysis used Vessel Monitoring System (VMS, sourced from the Irish Naval Service) and Automatic Identification System (AIS, sourced from the Dept. of Transport) datasets to effectively assess vessel density across the Irish EEZ highlighting ‘noisy’ areas.
• Shipping analysis results highlighted high vessel density areas along the east and south coast, likely to be attributed to passenger ferries, and areas along the south coast and further offshore south and south west within Irelands EEZ subject to high fishing vessel densities.
• Cetaceans have been continually highlighted as a high risk group likely to suffer negative impacts and this project assessed spatial overlaps of seismic surveying with baleen whales and other cetacean species, using results from the seismic survey bang day analysis and visual sightings data provided by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Of particular concern was the overlap highlighted between low-frequency cetaceans along the south and south-west coast of Ireland. Low-frequency cetaceans were also predominant along the north-west continental shelf slope areas and slopes of the Porcupine Bank concurrent with high fishing vessel densities.

For Further Information
Dr. Joanne O’Brien, Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland.  joanne.obrien@gmit.ie, www.monitoringoceannoise.com.