Feeds

Greenies want limits on ocean sonar

Flipper flipping out

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

An international group of environmentalists has called on the United Nations to protect marine life from the potentially damaging effects of sonar. The plea comes as delegates from 148 nations meet in New York to consult on marine law.

Intense sound waves are thought by many to cause dolphins and whales to become stranded on land. Since 1985, groups of marine mammals have been stranded on the coasts of Greece, Hawaii and New Zealand. In each case, the Ocean Noise Coalition said, the strandings were close to high intensity sonar events, or coincided with the use of industrial 'air guns' that are used in oil and gas exploration.

In a statement on its website, the coalition says that intense sound can cause a range of effects on cetaceans, including "death and serious injury caused by hemorrhages [sic] or other tissue trauma; strandings; temporary and permanent hearing loss or impairment; displacement from preferred habitat and disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, communication, sensing and other behaviors [sic] vital to the survival of these species.".

Similar concerns exist for potential impacts on other marine species, including fish, the coalition explained. It cited studies showing that fish can be seriously injured or even killed by sonar, Reuters reports.

"Scientific studies have demonstrated that airguns have the potential to injure and significantly reduce catch rates of certain fish species at substantial distances," it says, arguing that this contributes to the depletion of fish stocks.

The coalition says that the UN has an obligation to take action under the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which requires signatories to protect the marine environment. It argues that new technologies, including passive sonar and alternative energy sources could help reduce the noise pollution below the waves.

The US says that sonar use cannot be regulated because it is a matter of national security. The European Parliament, and the International Whaling Commission, meanwhile, support the introduction of international controls, the coalition said. ®

Related stories

Cetacean community thwarted in Dubya sonar suit
More IT jobs for space-bound dolphins
Dolphin skin key to subaquatic speed

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.