The Marine chapter of the 2016 State of the Environment (SoE) report incorporates multiple expert templates developed from
streams of marine data. This metadata record describes the Expert Assessment "Effectiveness of marine management of anthropogenic
noise". The full Expert Assessment, including figures and tables (where provided), is attached to this record. Where available,
the Data Stream(s) used to generate this Expert Assessment are accessible through the "On-line Resources" section of this
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESSURE BEING MANAGED, AND ITS IMPACT
There is a good understanding of the potential sources of anthropogenic marine noise arising from construction related activities,
oil and gas activities, shipping and military operations in Commonwealth waters. These include geophysical and geotechnical
surveys, seismic exploration, seabed piling, explosives, construction, dredging, ongoing operations, sonar and noise from
vessels (particularly dynamically positioned vessels). It is clearly understood that the level of impact from these noise
sources will vary depending on the size of the noise source, spatial distribution of simultaneous sources, duration and
level of the noise and proximity to sensitive receptors as well as the sensitivity of the particular species to noise. Less
is known of the impacts of ongoing low level noise associated with shipping and that generated by other emerging sectors such
as marine mining and renewable energy operations, although work on understanding noise impacts associated with these sectors
is being actively researched overseas where these activities are more widespread (e.g. Europe). The level of understanding
of the cause-effect pathways for marine noise impacts is also underdeveloped. In some cases predictions of impacts are made
using limited scientific evidence, with available studies focused on short-term exposures of individuals rather than long-term
population consequences and limited in-field verification of sound modelling and environmental impact.
DATA STREAM(S) USED IN EXPERT ASSESSMENT
Environment data from petroleum activities in commonwealth waters that generate underwater noise spanning 2012 – 2015, data
from collaborative research activities carried out by DSTG and the Australian Navy, data and analyses published in peer reviewed
publications and agency reports. Details of the specific data sets used to generate this assessment have not been provided.
2016 SOE ASSESSMENT SUMMARY [see attached Expert Assessment for full details]
• Understanding of pressure: Sources of underwater noise across most sectors are well known, however knowledge of impacts
requires a greater level of understanding.
• Planning associated with management of pressure: Acute impacts across sectors are largely managed through EPBC Act approval
processes, regulatory frameworks and environmental planning, reducing risks to sensitive receptors.
• Input for informing management of pressure: Substantial information is available to inform management with varying degrees
of uptake across sectors.
• Processes associated with developing, monitoring, and updating management: Environmental authorisation processes associated
with or endorsed by the EPBC Act are in place across sectors for acute impacts; there is little management of chronic impacts.
• Outputs from management framework in place: Assessment and inspection of noise producing activities associated with the
oil and gas industry and environmental assessments and collaborative research programs conducted by the Navy are used to
inform required areas of improvement in these sectors. Outputs and improvement processes across other sectors are less clear.
• Outcomes of management framework in place: An increased level of regulatory oversight for oil and gas activities and ongoing
research and inputs into military environmental plans aim to ensure effective management of underwater noise in these sectors.
Management outcomes for other sectors are less clear.
CHANGES SINCE 2011 SOE ASSESSMENT
The management effectiveness of anthropogenic noise was not included in the 2011 assessment.
Australian Navy. Maritime Activities Environmental Management Plan (www.navy.gov.au/about/organisation/environment)
Cato, D. H. (2010). The effects of noise on marine animals in the context of their natrual acoustic environment. Proceedings
of the 20th International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2010, Sydney, International Congtress on Acoustics.
Cato, D. H., et al. (2016). "Addressing challenges in studies of behavioral responses of whales to noise." Advances in
Experimental Medicine and Biology 875.
Cato, D. H., et al. (2012). Project BRAHSS: Behavioural response of Australian humpback whales to seimic surveys. Acoustics
2012, Fremantle, 21-23 November 2012, Australian Acoustical Society.
Dunlop, R. A., et al. (2016). "Response of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to ramp-up of a small experimental air
gun array." Marine Pollution Bulletin 103(1-2): 72-83.
Erbe, C., et al. (2015). "The marine soundscape of the Perth Canyon." Progress in Oceanography 137: 38-51.
Erbe, C., Ainslie, M. A., de Jong, C. A. F., Racca, R., & Stocker, M. (2016). The need for protocols and standards in research
on underwater noise impacts on marine life. In A. N. Popper & A. Hawkins (Eds.), The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II
(pp. 1265-1271). New York: Springer Verlag.
Erbe, C., Reichmuth, C., Cunningham, K. C., Lucke, K., & Dooling, R. J. (2016). Communication masking in marine mammals:
A review and research strategy. Marine Pollution Bulletin, in press. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.007
Fewtrell, J. L. and R. D. McCauley (2012). "Impact of air gun noise on the behaviour of marine fish and squid." Marine Pollution
Bulletin 64(5): 984-993.
IMO 2014. Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise from Commercial Shipping to Address Adverse Impacts on Marine
Life. MEPC.1/Circ.833. International Maritime Organisation, London.
McCauley, R. D., et al. (2003). "High intensity anthropogenic sound damages fish ears." The Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America 113(1): 638.
OSPAR (2009). Overview of the impacts of anthropogenic underwater sound in the marine environment. London, OSPAR Commission.
QUALITY OF DATA USED IN THE ASSESSMENT
CUSTODIAN AND LOCATION OF DATA
NOPSEMA, DSTG, Australian Navy (details of the specific data products used in this assessment have not been provided).
METHOD USED TO DETERMINE STATE OR RECENT TREND
Expert assessment based on data and analyses available, input from a series of independent experts.
When citing this Expert Assessment in a list of references use the following format:
citation author name/s (year metadata published), metadata title. Citation author organisation/s. File identifier and Data
accessed at (add http link).