Seas At Risk's Swiss member organisation OceanCare is working to raise awareness of the deleterious effects of ocean noise on marine mammals. In particular they have been lobbying the United States' and Greek governments to prevent seismic testing that could seriously harm cetacean life.

The US government will soon decide on an application to carry out geophysical surveys in the Aegean part of the Mediterranean Sea. The applicant research institutes plan to perform seismic tests. The Greek government, too, has to authorize the project, but in the past years always did so without attaching any conditions. Such activities are ear-deafening and highly dangerous for the monk seals, sperm and beaked whales living in the Aegean Sea.

The most striking effect of underwater noise are strandings: the map of the Eastern Mediterranean shows whale strandings related to noise activities that were documented in recent years. Also the seismic surveys now examined would take place in the middle of a protected area for monk seals – the most highly endangered marine mammal species in Europe.

The project is in contradiction to the protection targets of the Convention on Migratory Species, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black and Mediterranean Seas (ACCOBAMS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

We can submit comments to the proposal until the 4th of October. In order for their objection to gain as much weight as possible, they are asking for supporters to help them to protect marine species in the Mediterranean by signing their petition here.

OceanCare also reminds us that silent oceans are possible: the US navy is now refraining from using military sonar and explosives in sensitive areas of the Pacific Ocean – a milestone!

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