Approaches to reduce noise from ships operating in important killer whale habitats

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 1:59pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: In Press
Authors: Rob Williams, Scott Veirs, Val Veirs, Erin Ashe, Natalie Mastick
Journal title: Marine Pollution Bulletin
ISSN: 0025326X

Shipping is key to global trade, but is also a dominant source of anthropogenic noise in the ocean. Chronic noise from ships can affect acoustic quality of important whale habitats. Noise from ships has been identified as one of three main stressors–in addition to contaminants, and lack of Chinook salmon prey–in the recovery of the endangered southern resident killer whale (SRKW) population. Managers recognize existing noise levels as a threat to the acoustical integrity of SRKW critical habitat. There is an urgent need to identify practical ways to reduce ocean noise given projected increases in shipping in the SRKW's summertime critical habitat in the Salish Sea. We reviewed the literature to provide a qualitative description of mitigation approaches. We use an existing ship source level dataset to quantify how some mitigation approaches could readily reduce noise levels by 3–10 dB.

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