Report of the Technical Subgroup on Underwater Noise and other forms of energy

Open Access Report 2012

European Marine Strategy Framework Directive Good Environmental Status (MSFD-GES)

There are many kinds of anthropogenic energy that human activities introduce into the marine environment including sound, light and other electromagnetic fields, heat and radioactive energy. Among these, the most widespread and pervasive kind of anthropogenic energy is underwater sound. It is likely that the levels of sound inputs and the associated effects on the marine ecosystem have been increasing since the advent of steam-driven ships. Organisms that are exposed to sound can be adversely affected both on a short timescale (acute effect) and on a long timescale (permanent or chronic effects). These adverse effects can be widespread and the European Commission decided in September 2010 that the two indicators for underwater noise be used in describing Good Environmental Status. The EC decided in 2010 that guidance was needed to help member states implement the indicators that were chosen in the Commission Decision of 2010 (EC 2010). TSG Noise therefore has focused on clarifying the purpose, use and limitation of the indicators and described methodology that would be unambiguous, effective and practicable. For both the impulsive and ambient noise indicators it has been possible to make significant progress towards practical implementation of the indicators, and most ambiguities have been solved.

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