Presentation Title

Gross polluters: Could quieting the loudest vessels tame noise pollution in the Salish Sea?

Session Title

From plankton to whales: underwater noise and its impacts on marine life

Conference Track

Species and Food Webs

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type of Presentation

Oral

Abstract

Commercial ships are a dominant source of noise throughout much of the world’s oceans, raising concern about the degradation of acoustic habitat for marine mammals and other species. In the Salish Sea, noise from bulk carriers, container ships, tankers, vehicle carriers, fishing boats, and other vessels extends from the low frequencies used by baleen whales to the higher frequencies used by killer whales. To manage this growing problem, various experts and expert groups have proposed focusing mitigation efforts on the noisiest vessels, because they assume or estimate that a relatively small number of outliers are contributing disproportionately to the total acoustic energy produced by commercial ships. This study tests that hypothesis using one of the largest existing sets of shipping noise data: a record of 1,582 unique ships that transited Haro Strait between 2011 and 2013. We show how noise output is distributed for the various types of commercial vessels that use the Salish Sea, define a class of “gross polluters,” and determine, through quantitative analysis, whether quieting these very loudest ships could achieve the 3 dB and 10 dB reduction targets (in acoustic energy) endorsed by the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission in 2008. Finally, we consider the implications of our findings for managing low- and higher-frequency ocean noise in the Salish Sea.

Comments

The description of this session suggests separate presentations from Scott Veirs, on the acoustic signatures of vessels, and Michael Jasny, on management initiatives around the world. We propose integrating a review of management initiatives into this presentation, which would require adding 5-10 minutes to the time you would typically allot to a single presentation. Presenters will be either Scott or Val Veirs, and Michael Jasny.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

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Gross polluters: Could quieting the loudest vessels tame noise pollution in the Salish Sea?

2016SSEC

Commercial ships are a dominant source of noise throughout much of the world’s oceans, raising concern about the degradation of acoustic habitat for marine mammals and other species. In the Salish Sea, noise from bulk carriers, container ships, tankers, vehicle carriers, fishing boats, and other vessels extends from the low frequencies used by baleen whales to the higher frequencies used by killer whales. To manage this growing problem, various experts and expert groups have proposed focusing mitigation efforts on the noisiest vessels, because they assume or estimate that a relatively small number of outliers are contributing disproportionately to the total acoustic energy produced by commercial ships. This study tests that hypothesis using one of the largest existing sets of shipping noise data: a record of 1,582 unique ships that transited Haro Strait between 2011 and 2013. We show how noise output is distributed for the various types of commercial vessels that use the Salish Sea, define a class of “gross polluters,” and determine, through quantitative analysis, whether quieting these very loudest ships could achieve the 3 dB and 10 dB reduction targets (in acoustic energy) endorsed by the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission in 2008. Finally, we consider the implications of our findings for managing low- and higher-frequency ocean noise in the Salish Sea.