The Renewable Resources Report

Draft NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

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On June 1, 2016, NOAA released a draft Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap, the first of its kind. The strategy seeks to ensure that NOAA is more comprehensively addressing noise impacts to aquatic species and their habitat over the next decade. The document summarizes the status of the science to support the Ocean Noise Strategy’s goals, details relevant NOAA management and science capacities, and recommends cross-agency actions that could be taken to achieve more comprehensive management of noise impacts.

As the roadmap states:

“Increasing human activity, along more of the earth’s coastlines and extending farther offshore in deep ocean environments, is leading to rising levels of underwater noise. Increasing noise levels are impacting the animals and ecosystems that inhabit these places in complex ways, including through acute, chronic, and cumulative effects…Numerous studies illustrate specific adverse physical and behavioral effects that exposure to certain sound types and levels can have on different species. Additionally, sound is a fundamental component of the physical and biological habitat that many aquatic animals and ecosystems have evolved to rely on over millions of years. In just the last ~100 years, human activities have caused large increases in noise and changes in soundscapes. These changes can lead to reduced ability to detect and interpret environmental cues that animals use to select mates, find food, maintain group structure and relationships, avoid predators, navigate, and perform other critical life functions.”

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