Assessment and Monitoring of Ocean Noise in Irish Waters

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Resource or Project Abstract

Anthropogenic noise is now recognised as a significant pollutant in the marine environment, and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims to address this. At present two indicators are set out under MSFD to assess ocean noise; 11.1.1) low and mid frequency impulsive sound and 11.2.1) low frequency continuous sound. Under assessment of Indicator 11.1.1 this study aims to create a register of licensed low and mid frequency impulsive sound activities carried out within the Irish EEZ. We aim to generate noise maps of the Irish EEZ illustrating areas of high low and mid frequency impulsive anthropogenic noise levels. To assess Indicator 11.2.1 we aim to conduct an audit of acoustic datasets collected to date within the Irish EEZ and use recordings when possible to identify shipping and other target sounds. There is particular concern of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals because they have a highly developed auditory system and use sound actively for orientation, feeding and communication. This project aims to estimate an approximate disturbance area for baleen whales though sound propagation modelling and data gathered from ship AIS and VMS. This study will deploy a noise monitoring device from which average ambient noise levels can be measured for deployment durations and extrapolated over a calendar year using specialised acoustic models This work, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency serves to inform management on how to meet requirements under MSFD and provide recommendations on cost-effective monitoring schemes.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Joanne O'Brien
National University of Ireland Galway

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_120_web.pdf  (20.17 Mb)
Att 2    Summary_of_Findings_MSFD_Nosie_STRIVE_120_JOBrien_GMIT_for_web.pdf   (0.28 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)O'Brien, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAssessment and Monitoring of Ocean Noise in Irish Waters
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier44aa4dad-8f1a-11e3-b233-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-17

An example of this citation in proper usage:

O'Brien, J.   "Assessment and Monitoring of Ocean Noise in Irish Waters". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-17)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordsanthropogenic noise, MSFD, shipping, seismic, real-time monitoring
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2011-W-MS-6
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWater Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe reliability, quality and completeness of data gained through SAFER-Data is intended to be used in an education or research context. These data are not guaranteed for use in operational or decision-making settings. The EPA and SAFER-Data requests an acknowledgement (in publications, conference papers, etc) from those who use data/information received with SAFER-Data. This acknowledgement should state the original creators of the data/information. An automated citation is provided below. It is not ethical to publish data/information without proper attribution or co-authorship. The data/information are the intellectual property of the collecting investigator(s). The data/information may be freely downloaded and used by all who respect the restrictions and requirements in the previous paragraphs.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Monday 9th January 2012 (09-01-2012)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 9th January 2012 (09-01-2012)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Tuesday 1st October 2013 (01-10-2013)
Published on SAFERThursday 6th February 2014 (06-02-2014)
Date of Last EditThursday 6th February 2014 at 10:44:29 (06-02-2014)
Datasets or Files Updated On Thursday 6th February 2014 at 10:44:29 (06-02-2014)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This project covered waters under Irish juristiction for seismc survey analysis and the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone for analysis of vessel density. Trial deployments were conducted in the Shannon estuary cSAC, Dublin Bay abd Galway Bay.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
This research is designed to meet Ireland?s requirements under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), but will also serve to fulfil requirements under the EU Habitats Directive for marine mammals. At present, no observation stations are identified or fully established in Irish waters, therefore a collaboration set up with associate partners Michel Andre from the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB) at the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain (UPC) will help to build capacity within Ireland by carrying out trial deployments of noise monitors. This project will serve to inform management by generating baseline values of noise levels, identify recommendations for future studies and predict how Ireland can acquire and maintain Good Environmental Status by 2020.
Supplementary Information
Project outcomes include detailed metadata of acoustic datasets collected in Irish waters. A register of seismic activity in Irish waters (Strive Report No 96) which was submitted to the MSFD Technical Sub Group for Noise as Ireland?s contribution towards a common register. Collaboration with UK resulted in a joint map of seismic survey ?bang days? as a means towards combined Member State reporting. Analysis of AIS and VMS data from 2010 -2012 resulted in a series of vessel density maps across temporal scales for assessment of baseline vessel activity. Trial deployments of noise monitors has provided baseline noise level data and built capacity in Ireland for noise assessment and monitoring under MSFD. A focus on strategies and cost benefit analysis has been completed to inform policy and advise Government bodies on a feasible and scientifically sound monitoring programme which is to be in place under MSFD by 2014.

Special thanks to those that contributed data to this project including the Petroleum Affairs Divison of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Rescources, The Department of Transport, Tourism and Arts, The Department of Energy and Cimate Change of the UK, The Joint Nature Conservation Committee, The Irish Naval Service and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Additional thanks to the project external assistance from the Technical University of Catalonia UPC, Biospheric Engineering Limited and the Marine Institute and to the complimentary EPA funded project in the University College Cork. Further thanks to support in the field from SAC Tarbert and the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation.
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