Study

The effects of seismic operations in UK waters: analysis of Marine Mammal Observer data

  • Published source details Stone C.J., Hall K., Mendes S. & Tasker M.L. (2017) The effects of seismic operations in UK waters: analysis of Marine Mammal Observer data. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 16, 71-85.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use ‘soft start’ procedures to deter marine and freshwater mammals to reduce noise exposure

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Use ‘soft start’ procedures to deter marine and freshwater mammals to reduce noise exposure

    A study in 1994–2010 of multiple pelagic areas around the UK (Stone et al. 2017) found that during ‘soft start’ procedures, a greater proportion of cetaceans avoided or moved away from survey vessels compared to when airguns were not firing. A greater proportion of cetaceans (including whales, dolphins, and porpoises) avoided or moved away from survey vessels during ‘soft start’ procedures (200 of 975; 21%) than with no airguns firing (98 of 975; 10%). The same was true when the data were analysed separately for dolphins (Delphinidae) (‘soft start’: 92 of 484, 19%; not firing: 39 of 484, 8%) and Lagenorhynchus spp. only (‘soft start’: 46 of 186, 25%; not firing: 15 of 186, 8%). Data were extracted from reports made by Marine Mammal Observers on board seismic survey vessels in 1994–2010. Observations were made of marine mammals during ‘soft start’ procedures with large airgun arrays (≥50 cubic inch total volume) and during periods when airguns were not firing.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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