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MARINFORSKFISK-Marine ressurser og miljø - fiskeri

SBEP-BlueEcho, From science to policy: assessing impacts and developing solutions for ship traffic and offshore wind through soundmaps

Alternative title: BlueEcho, Fra forskning til regulering: vurdering av påvirkning og utvikling av løsninger for skipstrafikk og hav-vind gjennom støykart

Awarded: NOK 2.8 mill.

The ocean is important for many purposes; food, transport, tourism and energy utilization. Noise pollution from these activities may affect marine animals both in short and long term. One of the major contributions are shipnoise; from recreational to cargo vessels. This has increased much the past decades as a consequence of increased trade, transport, tourism and petroleum activities. Another sector that will increase the coming years are offshore wind, a necessary development to achieve the climate goals. Both shipping and windturbines produce lowfrequency, continous noise that may mask marine animal`s own communication as well as disturb their behavior or distribution. Marine animals use sound for communication, orientation food search and listen for predators or mates. Hence can an increased noise level cause a risk to marine ecosystems. Therefore, firstly one must know what this risk is, and secondly find adequate mitigation to reduce the impact. In BlueEch we will do both. We will use 2 ocean observatories, one placed in Norways first offshore wind farm, the other outside Lofoten close to the main shipping lane, we will look into if, and how composition of fish and mammals change with changing noise levels. Sound measurements from here and elsewhere in Europe will also be used to verify models for noise propagation and make noise maps over different ocean basins in Europe. Such maps will be overlaid with maps of animal distribution to have an idea of areas of high impact, to evaluate areas with the need for regulation. Further will different mitigation measures; speed reduction, noise reduced propellers, redirection of shipping lanes be modelled to get an understanding of which one is most effective, and also be incorporated in an economic model to evaluate the cost of these.

Owing to the synergy among research institutions from Italy, Germany, Sweden, and Norway, BluEcho aims to improve the sustainability of the shipping and wind farm industries and conserve species biodiversity by assessing noise impacts on marine fauna and evaluating the efficiency of various acoustic mitigation measures to reduce noise levels. Our approach will adopt a combination of numerical simulations, fieldwork, and desktop studies to provide critical data for the design of low-noise Marine Protected Areas implemented in the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Polar Oceans. Pristine polar regions will serve as a benchmark for comparison with areas with high shipping traffic in the other sea basins. Wind turbine and ship noise will be reproduced with cutting-edge numerical techniques and give input to detailed sound maps. In particular, the Hywind Tampen wind farm case study will serve as a starting point to develop similar sustainable technologies in other sea basins. Model validation, resulting from the joint effort of the partners, will lead to fine-tuning and optimization processes for the numerical tools. The numerical modeling will generate accurate three-dimensional sound maps will provide useful information on the effective noise-generation mechanisms. The maps will guide the process of identification of mitigation measures of noise emission. Noise reduction measures already taken into consideration by various ship-building firms will be evaluated, and impact assessment for selected marine taxa regionally tailored. The project will deliver an economic analysis of costs and benefits coupled with a marine spatial planning analysis, as a cost effectiveness analysis is suggested to find the best balance between noise reduction and economic cost minimization.

Funding scheme:

MARINFORSKFISK-Marine ressurser og miljø - fiskeri