Azara Blog: Report recommends more research on effect of sound in oceans

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Date published: 2006/02/13

The BBC says:

Research into the effect of sound in the oceans on marine mammals should be commissioned by the UK Government, a report recommends.

The Inter-agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology says mammals are affected by many sounds, including sonar, oil exploration and shipping.

It suggests research should include deliberately exposing mammals to noise.

There has been speculation that the whale found in the Thames last month had been disorientated by sounds.

"There are many sources of sound in the sea, including seismic surveys for hydrocarbons prospecting, shipping, offshore wind farms, military sonars and scientific research," said Professor Peter Liss from the University of East Anglia who chaired the report committee.

"We therefore decided that the study must consider all these sectors and one of our conclusions is the need for better regulation underpinned by more research."

Sound in the oceans is a possible real problem for marine life, but the UK is powerless to do anything significant without involving international bodies, so research is all very well, but other countries need to be brought on board. And if you give most countries the option of, say, having more expensive energy or a few dead whales every year, then the whales are unlikely to come out on top.

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