The International Ocean Noise Coalition (IONC) is a partnership of over 150 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world.
With representatives on every continent, IONC was created to address the need for a global approach to combating human-generated (or “anthropogenic”) ocean noise.
Sources of underwater noise include intense active mid-range and low frequency sonar, ship traffic, use of explosives, underwater construction, offshore oil drilling, and seismic testing for oil and other related activities.
Anthropogenic noise levels in the marine environment are increasing at an alarming rate. Ocean noise levels in some areas have doubled every decade for the past 60 years.
There is mounting concern that noise proliferation poses a significant threat to the survival of marine mammals, fish and other ocean wildlife.
Marine animals use sound to navigate, find food, locate mates, avoid predators and communicate with each other. Flooding their world with intense sound interferes with these activities with serious consequences.
A growing body of scientific research confirms anthropogenic noise can induce a range of adverse effects in marine mammals and other ocean creatures, from disturbance to injury and death.
To find out more information about ocean noise, click on the links below.
- OceanCare (2017). Intergovernmental Decisions relating to Marine Species and Anthropogenic Underwater Noise.
- Resolution 4.17 Guidelines to Address the Impact of Anthropogenic noise on Cetaceans in the ACCOBAMS Area.
- ACCOBAMS (2013). Draft Resolution 5.15 Impact of Anthropogenic Noise, MoP5
- ACCOBAMS (2016). Resolution 6.17 Anthropogenic Noise, MoP6.
- UNEP/CMS COP12 (2017). Resolution Adverse Impacts of Anthropogenic Noise on Cetaceans and Other Migratory Species.
- CMS Family Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessment for Marine Noise generating Activities (2017). Annex to Resolution Adverse Impacts of Anthropogenic Noise on Cetaceans and Other Migratory Species, UNEP/CMS COP12 (2017).
- Prideaux G, (2017). ‘Technical Support Information to the CMS Family Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessments for Marine Noise-generating Activities’, Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, Bonn.
- OceanCare, NRDC, DBU (2017). Recommendations for mitigating the impact of underwater noise on marine biodiversity in the south eastern European waters in the Mediterranean Sea, as a result from the Workshop on mitigating the impacts of underwater noise on marine biodiversity with specific focus on seismic surveys in the southeastern European waters in the Mediterranean Sea, Split, Croatia, November 2017.
- Report on the Work of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (July 2008)
- UN Resolution noting peer-reviewed scientific studies received from Member States, encouraging further studies and consideration of the impacts of ocean noise on marine living resources (March 2008)
- UN Resolution Encouraging Consideration of Impacts of Ocean Noise on Living Marine Resources (November 2005)
- Report of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission Annex K (June 2004)
- European Parliament Resolution on high-intensity active naval sonars (September 2004)
- Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) (November 2004)
- World Conservation Union Resolution on Undersea Noise Pollution (November 2004)
- Recommendations for addressing Ocean Noise Pollution: A Joint Statement to the Ocean Conference, United Nations, 5-9 June 2017
- The Impact of Ocean Noise Pollution on Marine Biodiversity By Dr. Linda Weilgart, Dalhousie University (March 2008)
- U.S. Navy Response Letter to Senator Warner (R-VA) regarding stranding incidents in the Bahamas
- California Coastal Commission Comments on the effects of Anthropogenic Noise on Marine Mammals
- Underwater Noise: Death Knell of our Oceans? By Dr. Linda Weilgart, Dalhousie University (September 2005)
- Ocean Noise: Adverse Impacts on Fish and Fisheries
- Stranding Tables – marine mammal stranding incidents associated with ocean noise
- OceanCare (2017). Academic Bibliography relating to Marine Species and Anthropogenic Underwater Noise.
- Weilgart L. (2017). The impact of ocean noise pollution on fish and invertebrates. Report by OceanCare and Dalhousie University, Canada / Switzerland. 23 pp.
- Strbenac A. (2017). Overview of underwater anthropogenic noise, impacts on marine biodiversity and mitigation measures in the southeastern European part of the Mediterranean, focussing on seismic surveys, Draft report in connection with the Noise Workshop in Split, Croatia, November 2017.
- Maglio A., Pavan G., Castellote M., Frey S. (2016). Overview of the noise hotspots in the ACCOBAMS Area – Part I – Mediterranean Sea. A report prepared for the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS).
- IONC partner the Hawaii Ocean Noise Coalition was formed in Spring 2007 to unite Hawaiians with a shared interest in ocean noise. Hawaii has a large U.S. naval presence and is the site of RIMPAC – the largest war game exercises in the world which are held biannually in Hawaiian waters.
- The US National Marine Fisheries Service Report on the 2004 Mass Stranding of Melon-Headed Whales in Hawai’i was released on April 27, 2006. The Report stated that sonar was the “plausible, if not likely, contributing factor” in the causation of the incident in which 150-200 of the whales ‘milled’ in an unusual manner in the shallows of Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i island.
- The US National Marine Fisheries Service Report and US Navy Joint Interim Report Bahamas Marine Mammal Stranding Event of 15-16 March 2000 found the animals had experienced some sort of acoustic or impulse trauma that led to their stranding and subsequent death and that the acoustic trauma was most likely as a direct result of exposure to tactical mid-range frequency sonars aboard U.S. Navy ships that were in use prior to the strandings.
- Navy Planned Undersea Warfare Training Range to be located off the coast of North Carolina will be an active mid-frequency sonar training range. Covering over 500 square miles, the range will be used up to 161 times a year for up to six hours at a time. The purpose of the range is to train personnel on the use of active sonar to find, track and pursue submarines in the littoral (shallow) zone.
- US Navy SURTASS Low Frequency Active Sonar use is currently confined to an area of the western Pacific Ocean established through a District Court Preliminary Injunction (November 2002). The area of operation has been expanded twice through Mediation Conference, most recently in August 2008. In November 2005, the Navy published its draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement detailing its proposal to double the number of SURTASS LFA sonar systems and to expand the area of operation to global oceanic basins including the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.
- Ocean Noise and SDG Briefing for Our Ocean Conference June 2017
- The relation between Ocean Noise and Food Security (2012)
- IONC Booklet on Ocean Noise (2013)
- IONC Booklet on Ocean Noise (June 2008)
- IONC Position Statement on Ocean Noise to the Eighth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (June 2007)
- IONC Summary of the Seventh meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea
- IONC Position Statement on Ocean Noise to the Seventh meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (June 2006)
- Dr. Linda Weilgart Statement to the California Coastal Commission in support of Commissioner Wan’s report on Anthropogenic Ocean Noise (November 2005)
- IONC Letter to UN Delegates (September 2005)
- Summary of Recent International Actions on Ocean Noise
- IONC Booklet on Ocean Noise (June 2005)
- IONC Petition to the United Nations and its Member States for Action on Underwater Noise Pollution (June 2005)
- IONC Position Statement on Ocean Noise to the Sixth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (June 2005)
Last Updated: May 2018