Pollution

Dolphins in front of rig in Moray Firth
Dolphins in front of rig in Moray Firth
Whales and dolphins live in a world of water and sound. They feed, communicate and find their way around their world using sound. If you pump oil or chemicals into that world, or high levels of unnatural noise, then they will suffer. Chemical spills, seismic noise used to find oil and gas, conducting loud military exercises at sea and increases in boat traffic can all put whales and dolphins in danger, cause them to strand on coastlines, and even kill them. Amazingly, there are currently no accepted international standards regarding noise pollution in our seas. We don’t know what damage all these activities are doing to whales and dolphins so we have to act now to find out before it is too late.

Oil and chemical spills, sewage and other manmade marine pollution and debris can have terrible effects on whales and dolphins and the places where they live, eat and breed.  But whales and dolphins also live in a world of sound. They communicate, find their way around and locate food using sound – it is their key to survival.

Loud underwater seismic searches or surveys (pulses of noise sent down to the seabed) to locate oil and gas, military exercises using powerful underwater sonar, and increasing levels of boat activity all create an ocean full of noise and the levels are increasing.

For whales and dolphins, ‘listening’ is as important as ‘seeing’ is for humans. Noise pollution threatens whale and dolphin populations, interrupting their normal behaviour, driving them away from areas important to their survival, and at worst injuring or sometimes even causing the deaths of some whales and dolphins.

Yet there are currently no accepted international standards regarding noise pollution in our seas. Because we don’t really know what long term damage pollution in all these forms is doing to whales and dolphins we have to act now. Why?

To help prevent spills damaging whale and dolphin populations in the future, and to find out just how much damage noise pollution is doing (and get some proper regulation in place) before it is too late.

WDC conducts research into the impacts of pollution, raising awareness of the threats, and we need your support to help us.