In March 2012, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) convened a workshop to identify gaps in our understanding of the effects of noise on marine fish, fisheries, and invertebrates. The BOEM manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore resources. It seeks to appropriately balance economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through oil and gas leases, renewable energy development and environmental reviews and studies [read more]. BOEM recognizes that advancement of these missions may cause increases in underwater noise as a result of such activities as seismic exploration, pile driving, dredging, and increases in vessel traffic. Much focus has been placed on understanding the effects of these activities on marine mammals, but the effects on marine fish, fisheries, and invertebrates are less well understood. The workshop sought to broaden that understanding. BOEM will use the results of this workshop to better inform decision-making and environmental analysis processes.
The geographic focus of the workshop was the U.S. Atlantic and Arctic OCS because of industry interest in those areas. Important goals of this workshop included:
- Identify the priority fisheries and species in the U.S. Atlantic and Arctic OCS
- Determine the feasible short-term and long-term research goals to close significant knowledge gaps
- Ascertain available means to reduce anthropogenic noise levels
- Identify mitigation options to reduce exposure risk