Underwater noise – our shipping industry is harming life in the sea

The shipping industry works to deliver over 90% of the products we use. And with all of that ship activity, we are making a lot of noise in the water. This noise is likely to cause some harm to the underwater life.

“That’s a huge problem for ocean creatures because they survive by communicating with sound, and their acoustic habitat has been dramatically reduced, partly by ships, also sonar and other man-made activity in the ocean. But, for example, some humpback [whales] now have 10 percent of their [original] acoustic range, so that is a problem.”

Whales, in particular, are prone to be harmed since they communicate using underwater sounds. The managing director for the Centre for Whale Research, Curt Jenner, has written on this topic and mentions other species that are affected:

Tropical fish larvae are instinctively attracted to low frequency noise, such as that generated by waves breaking on coral reef; recent studies show that fish larvae are also attracted to shipping noise. Larval fish and invertebrates are drawn away from their usual habitats, upsetting their own development and the ecosystems that depend on them. Ultimately the populations of predators which feed on them will also be depleted.

Underwater noise is definitely an environmental noise problem we shoud be concerned about.

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