Noise in the Marine Environment

It wasn’t until I chaired CIRIA’s Project Steering Group on Unexploded Ordnance in the Marine Environment that I began to realise that the issue of marine noise and its impact on fauna was becoming a headline issue on our regulators’ agenda. However, without any baseline it is difficult to understand what effect any changes to the  marine noise environment may have on fauna. This month the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CFAS) issued a Press Release via regarding the collaboration between Cefas, Marine Scotland Science and University of Exeter to analyse underwater noise data around the UK for the first time. Three areas were looked at:

  • the Celtic sea;
  • the northern North Sea;and
  • the southern North Sea.

The measurements from the three areas revealed considerable differences in exposure to anthropogenic noise, with the Celtic Sea showing very little evidence of the acoustic environment being disturbed by anthropogenic activity. By comparison, both areas of the North Sea, showed noticeable environmental acoustic disturbance, with the presented spectrograms illustrating the effect of the noise generated from a range of sources including such activities as the use of fishing gear and passing vessels. To find out more the full text can be downloaded at