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Media opportunity: Noise produced by deep‑sea mining activities could have far‑reaching effects on the marine environment: researchers

Posted by Communications and Marketing on December 8, 2021 in News

A new report suggests noise produced by deep-sea mining activities could have far-reaching effects on the marine environment -- from the water’s surface down to the ocean bottom.

Lindy Weilgart, an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University, and co-authors drew on past studies, expert interviews and stakeholder surveys to examine the noise levels of the equipment and technologies that will be used in deep-sea mining, along with the potential impacts.

Funded by the conservation group OceanCare, Deep-Sea Mining: A noisy affair describes how noise would come from ship propellers and onboard machinery near the surface, as well as sonar and seismic airguns used to help explore the seafloor for minerals. Noise in the midwater column would come from systems moving sediment from the seafloor to the surface, along with sonar and submersible motors.

On the seabed itself, the authors state that acoustic monitoring tools would generate additional sound and vibrations, as well as noise due to drilling, dredging and scraping in a bid to extract such things as copper, cobalt and manganese.

The report suggests deep-sea species could be particularly vulnerable since they use natural sound to perform vital functions like detecting food and predators, and are not accustomed to human-made noise at close range. Migratory species, especially deep divers like whales, could be affected as they pass through an area.

Dr. Weilgart is available to discuss the report and how noise should be considered in environmental impact studies and assessments before deep-sea mining proceeds.


Media contact:
Alison Auld
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
Dalhousie University
Cell: 1-902-220-0491


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