Science Advisory Report 2020/005
Review of the Statement of Canadian Practice with respect to the Mitigation of Seismic Sound in the Marine Environment
- A scientific review of the measures in the 2008 Statement of Canadian Practice with respect to the Mitigation of Seismic Sound in the Marine Environment (SOCP) was conducted to inform a potential update to the SOCP.
- Based on new scientific information and industry best practices, and following the review of 29 recommendations in the working paper, participants agreed that there is sufficient new information to support an update to the measures in the SOCP.
- Potential modifications and additions to the SOCP that should be considered, if/when an update to the SOCP occurs, are described in Table 1 and relate to:
- Additional protection(s) for critical and important habitat for marine mammals and sea turtles
- Protocols for enhancing marine mammal and sea turtle impact mitigation and monitoring
- Acoustic modelling to determine the appropriate size of the safety zone and in-field verification to validate zone size
- More specific guidance and protocols for marine mammal observers (MMO) and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM)
- Data collection, data sharing, and reporting requirements
- Participant expertise was not sufficient to recommend specific mitigation measures for fish, invertebrates, and plankton.
- Several major knowledge gaps and uncertainties were identified including:
- Knowledge of the temporal and spatial distribution of many marine species
- Appropriate thresholds that may be used to establish the size of safety zones, and applicability in Canadian waters
- Potential impacts of noise from air source arrays on many species
- Cumulative effects of anthropogenic sound
- Efficacy of some mitigation measures (e.g. PAM)
Further research and monitoring, and the incorporation of Indigenous and local knowledge could reduce these uncertainties.
- Meeting participants identified potential risks to marine life from sounds produced during geotechnical surveying activities that are not currently addressed in the SOCP or by the working paper recommendations. These include:
- Potential impacts outside and near the safety zone (e.g., behavioural, masking, stress responses)
- Potential impacts resulting from seismic surveys in or near ice covered waters
- Potential impacts from the use of alternative geotechnical surveying equipment other than compressed air sources
This Science Advisory Report is from the May 28-30, 2019 National Peer Review Meeting on the Review of the Statement of Canadian Practice with respect to the Mitigation of Seismic Sound in the Marine Environment. Additional publications from this meeting will be posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Scheduleas they become available.
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