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Mitigation of Marine Noise through Strategic Marine Planning, Conservation and Management Support: The Effective Use of Knowledge Exchange to Aid Decision-making

  • Lauren McWhinnie University of Victoria

  • Headshot

    Rosaline Canessa University of Victoria

Concerns are being raised over the growing evidence documenting the impacts of ship noise on marine species. Manmade noise can affect marine organisms in a range of ways, including ‘masking’ of animals own vocalizations used for communication, navigation, foraging, and hazard avoidance, which can lead to increased stress, disturbance, deafness and mortalities.

Increasingly, calls are being made for noise mitigation strategies and management frameworks to be put in place. One possible mechanism is the use of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Marine Protected Area (MPA) initiatives.

This research is addressing the impacts from noise on identified endangered species, for example Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) and other species at risk such as humpbacks, grey and fin whales, while also providing management suggestions for marine mammals throughout Canada. In addition, this work utilizes novel outreach techniques and modern technology to involve and educate the public with issues related to marine noise and applies a 'citizen science' approach to help address the issue of increasing marine noise from vessel traffic. This research project will bring together findings from three other MEOPAR projects that focus on marine acoustics (NEMES, WHaLE and 3MTSim) and consider how the outputs from these projects, together with end-user knowledge, can be used to further inform efforts to mitigate noise impacts caused by marine vessels. The research will focus on MPAs and MSP for strategic management.


  • North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Program
  • Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • exactEarth
  • JASCO Applied Sciences
  • Port Metro Vancouver
  • Council of the Haida Nation
  • Environment Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Sachs Harbour Hunting and Trapping Committee


  • Robert Briers
  • Paul Cottrell
  • Jerome Dupras UniversitĂ© du QuĂ©bec en Outaouais
  • Teresa Fernandez
  • John Ford
  • Kate Gormley
  • James Pilkington
  • Tavis Potts
  • Rachel Shucksmith
  • Chris Taggart Dalhousie University
  • Jared Towers
  • Andrew Trites
  • Rob Williams


  • Norma Serra-Sogas


  • Gormley,Kate,McWhinnie,Lauren,. 2016, Geoinformatic Applications in Marine Management. Geoinformatics for Marine and Coastal Management, , pp 175-202,10.1201/9781315181523-9 .

Research will contribute to addressing the impacts from noise on identified endangered species for example southern resident orca (SRO) and other species at risk such as northern resident orca (NRO), humpbacks, fin and grey whales and will also provide management suggestions for marine mammals throughout Canada. In addition, this work will also utilise novel outreach techniques and modern technology to involve and educate the public with issues related to marine noise and apply a ‘citizen science’ approach to help address the issue of increasing marine noise from vessel traffic.