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Offshore Environmental Risks - Noise

Oil and gas development activities generating marine noise include seismic operations, drilling and production activities, offshore and nearshore structural installation (especially pile driving) and construction activities, and marine traffic. Noise from offshore activities (especially from seismic operations) can seriously harm fish and marine mammals, especially dolphins and wales.


Recommended measures to reduce the risk of noise impact to marine species include:

  1. Identifying areas sensitive for marine life such as feeding, breeding, calving, and spawning areas
  2. Planning seismic surveys and offshore construction activities to avoid sensitive times of the year
  3. Identifying fishing areas and reducing disturbance by planning seismic surveys and construction activities at less productive times of the year
  4. Maximize the efficiency of seismic surveys to reduce operation times
  5. If sensitive species are anticipated in the area, monitor their presence before the onset of noise creating activities, and throughout the seismic program or construction. In areas where significant impacts to sensitive species are anticipated, experienced observers should be used
  6. When marine mammals are observed congregating close to the area of planned activities, seismic start up or construction should begin at least 1000 m away
  7. If marine mammals are sighted within 1000 m of the proposed seismic array or construction area, start up of seismic activities or construction should be postponed until they have moved away, allowing adequate time after the last sighting
  8. Soft-start procedures, also called ramp-up or slow buildup, should be used in areas of known marine mammal activity. This involves a gradual increase in sound pressure to full operational levels
  9. The lowest practicable power levels should be used throughout the seismic surveys, and their use should be documented
  10. Methods to reduce and/or baffle unnecessary high frequency noise produced by air guns or other acoustic energy sources should be used



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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
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