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Scientists Want Loud Ocean Noise Regulated September 4, 2015
Whales in front of passing ship
A new study recommends that ocean noise be considered globally as a pollutant — something the European Union already recognizes.
A team of researchers argues that high-decibel noise from explosive seismic testing for oil and gas in the world’s oceans should be regulated and monitored like pollution.

Scientists from leading universities and conservation groups warn that new regulations are urgently needed because of pending government approval of oil and gas exploration as little as three miles from the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, they caution that blasts from seismic tests are loud enough to harm whales and other marine life that rely on natural sounds to find food, communicate, navigate and avoid predators.

Lead author Douglas P. Nowacek of Duke University says that less intrusive technology, including a “marine vibrator” that uses low-pressure sound waves to conduct seismic surveys, will soon be available.

Photo: NOAA