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Hope for a Quieter Ocean for Whales and Other Stressed-Out Life

Source: New Scientist/Andy Coghlan - April 10, 2014 in Featured, News

At last, whales and dolphins might enjoy some peace and quiet. Shipping companies the world over will soon have voluntary guidelines that will, for the first time, require them to make less noise at sea.

Ships have made the oceans a much louder environment, and that is bad news for the animals that live in them. The noise seems to stress whales and is linked to mass dolphin strandings. It also pulps the balancing organs of squid, octopuses and cuttlefish. As a result, scientists and conservationists have been demanding some quiet time.

The new guidelines are the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, the UN agency that regulates the shipping industry, and will be finalised in the next fortnight.

“This is a milestone,” says Michael Jasny, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental campaigning organisation in Washington DC. “We’re aiming to reverse a truly global form of pollution.”

…Other conservation groups said the measures will be ignored unless compulsory. “Also, they don’t address noise from naval vessels and warships, or from other operations such as sonar,” says Nicola Hodgins of Whale and Dolphin Conservation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. “These guidelines don’t go far enough.”

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