NOAA Fisheries Asks Public to Comment on Updated Draft Acoustic Guidelines

July 30, 2015

New science on how noise levels affect marine mammal hearing.

Connie Barclay
(301) 427-8029
connie.barclay@noaa.gov

NOAA Fisheries is asking for public comments on its updated draft guidelines that will be used to determine the effects of human-made sounds on marine mammals.

These guidelines will be used by federal agencies, industry and others conducting activities that generate underwater noise, such as military testing and oil and gas exploration.

The guidelines will serve as a tool for NOAA Fisheries to better quantify the effects of sound exposure on marine mammals, and will be used in our assessments and authorizations of activities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act.

This is the first time acoustic threshold levels have been presented in a single, comprehensive document, and the agency believes this will improve consistent implementation across the laws that protect marine mammals.

NOAA Fisheries first took public comments on its draft acoustic guidelines in late 2013. After receiving many comments and reviewing new science, the agency made updates to the guidelines, pulling together the best scientific information available at this time. The agency also put the updated guidelines through two additional independent peer reviews so experts could evaluate and comment on the revised sections.

The public will have an additional 45 days to comment on this updated version of the draft guidelines, starting on July 28 and closing on Sept. 10. 

NOAA Fisheries will publish its final acoustic guidelines after we review and incorporate public comments on the proposed draft from the first and second public comment periods later this year.

Background on the Acoustic Guidelines