The current year marks the second year of the International Year of Sound, which coincides with the first year of the United Nations Decade of the Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Decade that has just begun was associated by the United Nations with the marine environment, as a direct recognition of the importance of the sea in the sustainable development of the planet. The motto of the decade is: “The Science we need for the Ocean we want.”
The coincidence of the beginning of the Decade of Ocean Science with the International Year of Sound is of particular importance as sound is not only important as a communication means in the air. The message of the International Year of Sound for the importance of sound for the society and the world, touches the sound in the marine environment as well. It is well known that large classes of animals living in the sea, use sound for all their activities. The population of marine organisms of all kinds is an essential component of life at sea and a balancing factor of its biodiversity. Any alteration in the hearing conditions of cetaceans and other marine creatures that use sound or are directly affected by sound and noise is dangerous for the conservation of their population. Unfortunately, as in the air, human activity degrades the quality of the marine soundscape, through the insertion of man-made noise caused by a series of interventions either of temporary duration (for example, seismic surveys for sea-bed classification, pile driving, marine installations) or of a continuous nature, such as the navigation.
On the other hand, due to the interaction of the marine with the terrestrial and atmospheric environment, it is self-evident that the preservation of good environmental conditions at sea and the conservation of the status of its natural biodiversity are necessary conditions to ensure the continuation of our life on the planet under the best possible environmental conditions.
Sustainable development therefore goes through the good use of sound at sea which must be done with great caution. The European Union, in the context of its efforts to achieve a marine environment characterized by the necessary quality, has already adopted in 2008 the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which applies the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities to achieve good environmental status (GES- original deadline 2020), and covers all sectors having an impact on the marine environment. One of the sectors and special indicator for the GES is the underwater sound. Member States should gradually take initiatives to control underwater sound as they are required to do for the atmospheric noise. As atmospheric noise is recorded and controlled through noise maps and measures are imposed to reduce it, the same is expected to happen in the coming years for the sound in the marine environment.
The goals of the International Year of Sound are therefore in line with the United Nations in the context of the Decade of Ocean Science and with the EU efforts for a good environmental status in the marine environment. The appeal is to all of us (scientists and policy makers) to do our best to ensure at sea, a soundscape compatible with the required standards of an environment of good quality, as this is essential for the prosperity of our planet in a future characterized by the harmonious coexistence of the human race with its natural environment.
Prof. Michael Taroudakis
Past President of ICA and co-coordinator of the IYS
Source: Michael Taroudakis
Source Location: https://oceandecade.org
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