News & AnalysisMarine Policy

U.S. Regulators Unveil New Ocean Noise Rules for Marine Mammals

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Science  10 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6167, pp. 128
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6167.128

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Humans create all kinds of noise in the ocean—from sonars, blasts of bubbles used to map the sea floor with sound, thumping pile drivers, and underwater explosions triggered by the military and construction projects. Now, new guidance from the National Marine Fisheries Service will require more sophisticated analyses than are now required of how these sounds might injure marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, and seals. Environmentalists hope the guidance, which caps a 10-year effort to synthesize the best science on how sound affects the animals, will lead to greater protection, but others aren't so sure.