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Nature

Whales and Dolphins Can No Longer Hear in Oceans

Dolphins

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), just released a report showing that in recent decades, the noise created in the ocean by human activities has risen significantly, which poses a major threat to marine mammals.[social_buttons]

Commercial shipping noise, seismic exploration, sonar, and off-shore construction and recreational activities are all contributing to an increasingly more disorientating environment for mammals in the ocean.

Under-water sounds for communication, navigation and food locating are key for whales, dolphins, porpoises and other cetaceans. Man-made noise pollution can cause behavioral changes such as abandoning breeding and feeding areas, and in some cases lead to mass stranding and even death.

“Protecting marine species from ocean noise is critical to their survival. Ocean noise can travel over vast distances and affect marine species across many national sea boundaries. Therefore it is vital that countries work together to build strong agreements to prevent marine species being drowned out by disruptive, man-made noise.” – Veronica Frank, IFAW Campaign Officer

IFAW’s report highlights the fact that noise from ships in the Pacific Ocean has doubled every decade over the past 40 years, and the global shipping fleet is expected to double in size by 2025. The blue whale’s communication distance has been cut by an unbelievable 90 per cent as a result of the increased ocean noise.

The report particularly condemns high intensity noise such as seismic surveys and military sonar. These activities can emit sounds above 200 decibels which can injure marine animals. Fatal strandings of whales and dolphins have also been linked to high intensity sonar.

Urgent discussions about ocean noise are expected at this week’s 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in Rome.

Image: Zest-pk at Flickr under Creative Commons License




2 comments
  1. gmac

    BS. Only we as humans could be so arrogant to believe that we are causing the destruction of mammals hearing in the worlds oceans. Which brings to light something else about humans. There are several major funded projects around the world that disrupt the natural processes of animals. It is the secret elite of the world that are destroying this planet. Radioactive waste circulates around the oceans and even in giant underwater aquifers. Lets not just believe that sonar is causing this. There is always more to the story than is usually thought of.

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