Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up
April 2018 by V. R. Duin


Right-side up, then upside down,
Little Ray loved to act the clown.
The young stingray showed off for friends,
Who cheered his leaps and flips and bends.
(“Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”)

Unnatural ocean sounds present a severe noise pollution threat for human enjoyment as well as for marine life survival.

Rolling tides and gentle waves are natural sounds. Unnatural ocean sounds are loud and obvious. Water forced into the ocean from spillways and drainage pipes cause noise problems. Physical and emotional damage may result.

Swim bladders and expelled water or air create sounds. Fish make barks, bubbles, burps, gnashes, groans, grunts, hisses, hoots, moans, rattles, splashes and thumps.

Dolphins and whales chirp, squeak, click and whistle through blow holes. ReefQuest Centre answers: Do sharks make sounds?

Sound is used compete for attention, define boundaries or show submission. Sound helps to navigate, find food and communicate. Sight and smell are not always useful. Touch may be dangerous.

Bone-rattling sounds can be deadly. Territorial animals may not be willing to get out of the way of noisy machines. As boat traffic increases, aggressive and slow animals are killed or injured.

Natural ocean sounds regulate behavior. Sound helps prey flee. It draws aggressive species for attack. Stress places animals at greater risk to predators and disease. Stress impacts human safety and enjoyment.

When whales slap their tales, fish herd for safety. This makes a confusing mass for some predators. A whale may swallow the school. Thumps mark territory. Team tail thumping drives prey for easy dining.

Naturally occurring sounds reduce stress. It aids in spawning, sheltering, mating, growth, development, feeding and other necessary marine life activities.

Thundering sounds cause stress. Severe, common, load noises include music, engines, depth sounding devices, sonar blasts, oil drilling booms air guns for surveys and explosives for construction. Chronic stress damages blood vessels and the nervous system.

Noise has immune system effects. It causes metabolic disruptions, developmental delay and physical deformities. Loud noise interferes with rest and impairs hearing. Damage can continue worsening after the noise stops.

Advanced sensing technologies and robotics open new areas for development. Canadian biologist Lindy Wilgart wrote a report entitled The Impact of Ocean Noise Pollution on Fish and Invertebrates. It compiled reviews of 115 scientific studies.

Scientific and government laboratories are involved. NOAA mapped a strategy to reduce noise pollution over a 10-year period. Everyone interacting with the ocean should reduce recreational and industrial impacts.

Government wants help. The NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Road Map is collaborative. It was launched with an opportunity for comment and feedback. Its guideline benefits visitors and ocean life.

Noise is an international problem. NOAA issued Phase 2 of its plan for ocean sound management, planning, regulation and assessment. Public education programs, workshops and tasks forces come with this Outreach.

Efforts to limit sound decibels extend to land and freshwater. The International Maritime Organization is working to quiet commercial vessels. Sanctuaries are being set aside for the study marine life.

Countries are involved. Canada has an Ocean Protection Plan. The UN has an “Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea”. Its 19th meeting on Anthropogenic Ocean Noise was international.

Water amplifies sound, causing fish to leave the area. Noise reaches water from land, land from water and land from land. People are flooded with robocalling and spoofing by telemarketers, political parties and hucksters.

“Yes” to noise pollution is a bad answer. To keep a your voice from being used for unwanted purchases, blow bubbles with a straw, make animal sounds or explode like machines. Cons may not risk another round.

Severe Noise Pollution Threats

  • marine life survival Little Ray says:

    Julia Purser, UK biologist, has authored or co-authored articles about injury, death and other effects of noise on marine life survival.

  • unnatural ocean sounds Little Ray says:

    Governments are drafting regulations to reduce harmful, unnatural ocean sounds.

    • severe noise pollution threatLittle Ray says:

      Offshore construction, with driving piles and explosives, is increasing and expanding the spread of the severe noise pollution threat for ocean life.