Noisy oceans threaten survival of whales and dolphins

December 4th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 4 (ANI): Increasing noise pollution in the worlds oceans is threatening the survival of sea life like whales and dolphins, according to a discussion in a UN-backed conference.

According to a report by BBC News, in the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, it was determined that the noises sea creatures use to communicate are being drowned out by noises from commercial shipping, new military sonar and climate change.

The marine life becomes disoriented, cannot find mates or food and behave differently, according to the scientists.

Describing the increasing noise in oceans, Mark Simmonds from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said, Call it a cocktail-party effect: you have to speak louder and louder until no-one can hear each other anymore.

He said there were a growing number of cases where the stranding of whales and dolphin could be linked to sound pollution.

In some cases, the mammals had tissue damage similar to divers who surface too quickly, leading scientists to suggest that they were scared by military sonar or seismic testing, and surfaced beyond their physical limits, according to Simmonds.

Other research suggests that rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) are increasing the acidity of the Earths oceans, making sound travel further through sea water.

According to a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the distance over which blue whales can communicate has been cut by 90 percent as a result of higher noise levels over the last 40 years.

A spokesman for the UN Environment Programme said governments seem ready to take action to alleviate the problems caused by noisy oceans.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which representatives from 100 countries are attending, is considering issuing a resolution that would oblige countries to reduce sound pollution.

Other suggested measures include re-routing shipping, cutting speed and banning tests and sonar use in the habitats of endangered animals. (ANI)

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