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Noisier Oceans Threaten Whales And Dolphins

Noisier Oceans Threaten Whales And Dolphins, Experts Warn At UN Gathering

Increased noises generated by larger numbers of ships, seismic surveys and use of new military sonars are imperiling creatures such as whales and dolphins, who use sound to communicate and find food, experts said today at a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) gathering in Rome.

An alliance of wildlife groups at the 9th meeting of the Convention on Migratory Species – an intergovernmental treaty concluded under UNEP’s aegis – that seeks to conserve wildlife and habitats on a global scale issued the warning, urging governments and the private sector to use quieter ship engines.

They also called for tightened laws on using seismic surveys to explore for gas and oil, as well as less intrusive sonar technologies by militaries.

“Underwater, man-made noise is already triggering a kind of acoustic fog and a cacophony of sound in many parts of the world seas and oceans,” said Mark Simmonds, Science Director of the Whale and Conservation Society, who is attending the UNEP conference.

Compounding the problem is the rising acidity levels in the seas and oceans, which could reach a point in the coming decades where noise generated by vessels, surveys and others will travel 70 per cent further than they do currently.

The European Community and its Member States have submitted a draft resolution on curbing marine noise to the UNEP conference.

ENDS

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