Ocean

Spainish protection corridors for dolphins and whales

Dolphins and whales scientists from Italy, France, of Switzerland, and the United States have for the first time created a noise map that shows noise hotspots on the Mediterranean sea. For their study, that you can download for free on the Internet or even read, the researchers used data of 1446 ports, 52 wind farm projects, 228 oil platforms, 830 seismic exploration platforms and seven million ship positions. The map revealed: particularly in the waters between mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands and the Strait of Gibraltar swimming fish, whales and dolphins in a huge noise.

Because of stranded beaked whales and dolphins Spain will establish protection corridors.

And the noise passes left its mark on the animals. “Noise is a stress factor as with the humans,” explains Silvia Frey of HNA, co-author of the study, on which she has been involved on behalf of the Convention for the protection of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (ACCOBAMS). Many strandings of beaked whales, which are dependent on for guidance on their hearing, could be, for example, due to damage of the sense of hearing.

Spain will establish protection corridors for dolphins and whales - 1
This is the first noise map on Mediterranean sea: it shows the four main sources of noise in the sea. Ports, industrial/energy, exploration, and military. Noise hot spots are areas where multiple sources are superimposed.

Long ago the noise research is not complete. “We stand with this report at the beginning of an acoustic assessment of the Habitat Mediterranean. It was identified only a spatially and temporally incomplete part of the noise sources”, says Frey. It would be another scientific need for clarification, how loud it is effective in the Mediterranean and which noise limit is acceptable and harmless. “Nevertheless, this first overview is remarkable and the extent of the noise sources questionable.”

Spain will establish a migration corridor for whales and dolphins

“We need models now, to show the sound levels and sound”, adds Gianni Pavan, co-author and Professor at the Italian Pavia University. “And we need to remember that conservation means maintaining the acoustic quality of habitats.” Spain’s Environment Ministry has planned that is why already measures. It wants to put the waters between the Balearic Islands and the Spanish mainland as a migration corridor for whales and dolphins under protection and limit there noise-causing activities.

Spain will establish protection corridors for dolphins and whales
Beached and dead sperm whale: may result in damage to the sense of hearing to do so that the animals lost.

But also the industry has meanwhile found solutions to reduce, for example, the enormous noise, resulting in the construction of offshore platforms, sharply. Here you read about a drilling technique that is much quieter than conventional methods.