The aim of this project is to develop a framework for a fully operational joint monitoring programme for ambient noise in the North Sea. Output will be the tools necessary for managers, planners and other stakeholders to incorporate the effects of ambient noise in their assessment of the environmental status of the North Sea, and to evaluate measures to improve the environment.
Sounds are omnipresent in the underwater environment and can be produced by natural (waves, weather, animals) and anthropogenic (shipping, construction) sources. International concern increasingly focusses on the potential negative effects of anthropogenic underwater noise on sensitive marine fauna. Sound sources, sound transmission, and the distributions of vulnerable species in the North Sea are all transnational questions which must be tackled transnationally, as specifically required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
The project will deliver an innovative combination of modelling and high quality measurements at sea for an operational joint monitoring programme for ambient noise in the North Sea. The use of consistent measurement standards and interpretation tools will enable marine managers, planners and other stakeholders internationally to identify, for the first time, where noise may adversely affect the North Sea. Next, we will explore the effectiveness of various options for reducing these environmental impacts through coordinated management measures across the North Sea basin.