Government urged to use new Marine Bill to protect marine mammals from man-made ocean noise pollution

Wednesday, December 3, 2008
(London – December 3, 2008) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) welcomed the announcement of the Marine Bill in the Queen’s Speech today as an important step to protect UK marine life – but urged the Government to use the Bill to tackle the growing threat from man-made underwater noise pollution.

Today’s long overdue announcement follows several years of consultation between Government, environmental groups and industry.

Marine mammals rely on sound to communicate, navigate and locate food. IFAW is concerned that escalating man-made noise pollution is causing behavioural changes in cetaceans such as abandoning breeding and feeding areas, and in extreme cases it is leading to strandings and even death.

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “We urge the Government to use this Marine Bill to deal with man-made ocean noise pollution and introduce regulations to mitigate its harmful effects. As the Government has committed to use the Marine Bill to set up Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), the effects of noise from many sources will have to be taken into account in order that MCZs can fulfil their potential as safe havens for species vulnerable to the effects of noise pollution.”

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