We have all heard noisy ships go by, whether in person or on television, but how many of us have wondered if the noise bothered the creatures that live in the water? Marine scientists at the University of Victoria have. In fact, they have placed an underwater microphone near the shipping lanes off Canada’s Vancouver Island. To them, it sounds like the whales are shouting to be heard over the noise.
The NRDC says that this “fog noise” interferes with the whales ability to communicate because “[s]hipping noise falls across the same frequencies that these animals use for all their vital behaviors – for feeding, for finding mates, for avoiding predators and for navigating.” Moreover, the NRDC is concerned about more than just mammals because noise travels quickly through water and the “entire web of life In the oceans depends on sound.”
The good news is that some shippers, as well as, 4 fleets recently added to the NOAA, have designed significantly quieter ships. However, it will be interesting to see how long it takes other producers of underwater noise, such as offshore oil and gas production or naval exercises, to make these changes.