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Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Over 450 pilot whales have stranded in various locations along a stretch of coastline in...
Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

J35 and J57. Photo by Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 Tahlequah...
Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live...
Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Wildlife experts in Australia's Northern Territory are monitoring a humpback whale that has travelled 18...
WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

Scientists from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, along with over 250 other experts from 40 countries,...
Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus Dr Nicolette Scourse is an academic, educator, author and illustrator with a passion for...
BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE:  Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE: Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

We can now confirm that two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, are now...
Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

"What we are asking for are essentially school zones along our coast, areas where vessels...

New studies reveal impact of navy sonar on whales

Two new published studies in the scientific journals Proceedings B and Biology Letters, reveal how simulated navy sonar can disturb the behaviour of blue whales and beaked whales.

Despite often being considered an ‘emerging threat’ to whales and dolphins, noise pollution has been on the agenda since the 1980s – more than 30 years now. And despite the ever increasing evidence of impacts to whales and dolphins, there has been very little movement towards effective protection.

This latest evidence of military sonar impacts – firstly in those deep diving beaked whale species that we already knew were highly susceptible to stranding as a result of sonar activities, and now evidence suggests that sonar ‘significantly affects the feeding behaviour’ of the most endangered baleen species, the mighty blue whale.

And alongside these important new publications on military sonar impacts, a monumental court decision in the US this month also determined that mitigation for seismic surveys in the Gulf of Mexico are woefully inadequate.

Current ‘best practise’ guidelines deal only with injury at short distances from the source and often only at the start of activities (it is ‘assumed that animals will move away to protect themselves). They are woefully inadequate. These guidelines do nothing to mitigate the wide spread behavioural affects that whales and dolphins, and other marine life, are suffering with, on a daily basis, in the seas around us – affecting their feeding, their fitness, increasing stranding risk and the health of whole populations.

Noise producers and governments of the world have a responsibility to protect our marine life and conserve populations. Noise guidelines do not protect individuals from injury and they do not protect populations from wide scale behavioural impacts that may have population consequences.

In the UK we understand the JNCC (the public body that advises the UK Government on nature conservation) seismic guidelines will be reviewed this year. The JNCC guidelines were one of the first to be produced globally and are often looked upon as being world leading. We wonder how all this evidence of impact, compiled since the last review of the guidelines, will be used to inform their updating.

A step change to ensure effective mitigation of intense noise pollution is long overdue.

Find out more about pollution and read our report – Oceans of Noise.