In an effort to save our marine ecosystems, can we replace our noisy offshore technologies with quieter alternatives?
Mounting evidence suggests that human-generated underwater noise, stemming from maritime transport, offshore industries, military technologies, and other sources, poses a significant threat to marine biodiversity.
In an interview with Euronews, Michel André, the Director of the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB) at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya — BarcelonaTech, proposes replacement of current noisy practices with quieter and more environmentally friendly alternatives to protect marine life from this danger and ensure the long-term health and resilience of our oceans.
Michel André -
Sound in the ocean is life. Without sound, there would be no life in the ocean. This is the only support of information that all inhabitants of the sea are able to share.
Then, if we understand that this sound can be contaminated, or this channel of communication can be altered by different operations at sea, we understand that this is putting at risk the balance of the ocean.
Any human activity in the ocean produces sound. Transport, which is shipping, with the machine noise, and the propellers make a lot of noise. The construction of windmill farms makes a lot of noise. Navy manoeuvres, oil and gas prospection, all these activities produce a lot of noise that is introduced in the ocean.
And one of the solution is to provide technological approaches that will reduce the introduction of noise.
We cannot ask this industry to stop operating. We can also ask the Navy to stop protecting the country. We cannot ask oil and gas operator to stop extracting oil and gas — this is, at the moment, what we rely on. So as scientists, we need to provide a solution that will provide these operators with an alternative technological way to extract the same information, limiting the effects on the marine environment.