ADVERSE ANTHROPOGENIC MARINE/OCEAN NOISE IMPACTS ON CETACEANS AND OTHER BIOTA

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1 CONVENTION ON MIGRATORY SPECIES NINTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES Rome, 1-5 December 2008 Agenda Item 12.0, 13.0, 17.0, 26.0 Distr: General CMS UNEP/CMS/Resolution October 2008 Original: English DRAFT RESOLUTION ON ADVERSE ANTHROPOGENIC MARINE/OCEAN NOISE IMPACTS ON CETACEANS AND OTHER BIOTA (Submitted by the European Community and its Member States) Recognising that, under Article II paragraph 1 of the Convention, Parties acknowledge the importance of Range States agreeing to take action for the conservation of migratory species whenever possible and appropriate, paying special attention to migratory species with an unfavourable or unknown conservation status, and taking individually or in cooperation appropriate and necessary steps to conserve such species and their habitats; Recognising that, under Article II paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Convention, Parties acknowledge the need to take action to avoid any migratory species becoming endangered and, in particular, to endeavour to provide immediate protection for migratory species listed in Appendix I to the Convention; Recognising that Article III paragraph 4 (b) of the Convention requires Parties to endeavour inter alia to prevent, remove, compensate for or minimise, as appropriate, the adverse effects of activities or obstacles that seriously impede or prevent the migration of migratory species listed in Appendix I; Recalling CMS/Resolution 8.22 Adverse human induced impacts on cetaceans urges Parties and non-parties to promote the integration of cetacean conservation into all relevant sectors and requests to review, in collaboration with the scientific advisory bodies of CMS cetacean-related Agreements, the extent to which CMS and CMS cetacean-related Agreements, are addressing the human induced marine noise impacts through their threat abatement activities; Recalling several resolutions and recommendations adopted in the framework of CMS, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS), the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) and the International Whaling Commission (IWC), that recognized marine noise and habitat and feeding ground degradation, as potential threats to the conservation of cetacean populations; For reasons of economy, documents are printed in a limited number, and will not be distributed at the meeting. Delegates are kindly requested to bring their copy to the meeting and not to request additional copies.

2 Recalling that the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss (decision VI/26 adopted by CBD COP6), and that this target has been endorsed in the Plan of Implementation adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (paragraph 44); Recalling the obligations of States which are Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect and preserve the marine environment (cf. art. 192 ff) and to cooperate on a global and regional basis concerning marine mammals (cf. art. 65 and 120), and on highly migratory species, including cetaceans listed in Annex I of UNCLOS and without prejudice to Part XIII of UNCLOS; Noting that the CBD has recognised CMS as the lead partner in the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species over their entire range (decision VI/20 adopted by CBD COP6); Acknowledging International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Resolution concerning undersea noise pollution (World Conservation Congress at its 3rd Session in Bangkok, Thailand, November 2004); Welcoming the activities of the IMO to address the impact of ship-generated noise on marine mammals; Recognising that anthropogenic ocean noise, depending on source and intensity, is a form of pollution, comprised of energy, that may degrade habitat and have adverse effects on marine life ranging from disturbance to injury and mortality; Aware that some types of anthropogenic noise can travel faster than some other forms of pollution over more than hundreds of kilometres underwater unrestricted by national boundaries; Taking into account the lack of data on the distribution and migration of some populations of migratory cetaceans and the adverse human-induced impacts on cetaceans; Aware of the fact that incidents of strandings and deaths of cetaceans is coincident with and may be due to the use of high-intensity mid-frequency active sonar; Taking note of the ICES report CM 2005/ACE:06 (Report of the Ad-hoc Group on the Impact of Sonars on Cetaceans and Fish (AGISC) which concludes that sonar seems not to be a major current threat to marine mammal populations generally, but can place individual whales at risk, so that the research of mitigating the effects of sonar on whales is a priority for future research and development; Reaffirming that the difficulty of proving possible negative impacts of acoustic disturbance on cetaceans necessitates a precautionary approach in cases where such an impact is likely; Recognising that there is a need for a fundamental understanding of the complex marine ecosystem that can only be achieved through vessel-based marine scientific research, which implies the application of scientific acoustical methods; 2

3 Appreciating the OSPAR Code of Conduct for Responsible Marine Research in the Deep Seas and High Seas of the OSPAR Marine Area and the ISOM Code of Conduct for Marine Scientific Research Vessels; providing that Marine scientific Research is carried out in an environmentally friendly way using appropriate study methods reasonably available; Noting that Resolution of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) identified the impacts of anthropogenic noise as a priority topic for investigation within its Scientific Committee, and that the Scientific Committee, in its report to the 56th meeting of the IWC, concluded that military sonar, seismic exploration, and other noise sources such as shipping pose a significant and increasing threat to cetaceans, both acute and chronic, and made a series of recommendations to member governments regarding the regulation of anthropogenic noise; Recalling Resolution No. 4 Adverse Effects of Sound, Vessels and other Forms of Disturbance on Small Cetaceans adopted by the 5th Meeting of Parties 2006 to the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS); Recalling Resolution 2.16 Impact Assessment of Man-Made Noise adopted by the 2 nd Meeting of Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS); Aware of the Calls on the IUCN constituency to recognise that, when there is reason to expect that harmful effects on biota may be caused by such ocean noise, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent or minimise such effects; Aware of the fact that cetaceans are vulnerable to noise disturbance; Concerned that cetaceans are subject to a range of human impacts; and Underlining that other marine mammals, reptiles, birds or fish species will also benefit from this resolution; The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1. Urges Parties and non-parties which exercise jurisdiction over any part of the range of species listed on the appendices of CMS, or over flag vessels which are engaged within or beyond national jurisdictional limits, to take special care and, where appropriate, to endeavour to control the impact of emission of man-made noise pollution in habitat of vulnerable species and in areas where marine mammals or other endangered species may be concentrated and undertake environmental impact assessments or strategic impact assessments on the introduction of systems of which the use may lead to noise problems for marine mammals, keeping in mind Decision IX/20 of COP9 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular its operational paragraph Calls on Parties and non-parties whenever possible to adopt mitigation measures on the use of high intensity active naval sonars until a transparent assessment of their environmental impact on marine mammals, fish and other marine life has been completed and 3

4 as far as possible avoid its use, and where in particular risks to marine mammals cannot be excluded, taking note of existing national measures and related research in this field. 3. Invites Parties to provide the CMS Standing Committee with public, national or international, protocols/guidelines developed by all respective authorities with respect to use of sonar in the context of threats to cetaceans, and the information upon which they are based (including data and distribution models), as far as such information is not confidential. 4. Stresses the need of Parties to consult with any stakeholder conducting activities known to produce underwater noise pollution with the potential to cause adverse effects on marine mammals and other biota, such as the oil and gas industry, shoreline developers, offshore extractors, marine renewable energy companies, other industrial activities and oceanographic and geophysical researchers recommending, how best practice of avoidance, diminution or mitigation should be implemented. In any case of doubt the precautionary approach should be applied. This also applies to military authorities to the extent that this is possible without endangering national security interests. 5. Incites Parties to facilitate national and collaborative international research on the following: A collaborative and co-ordinated temporal and geographic mapping of local ambient noise (both of anthropogenic and biological origin) as far as not confidential; The compilation of a reference signature database, to be made publicly available, to assist in identifying the source of potentially damaging sounds, as far as not confidential; An assessment of the potential acoustic risk for individual target species in consideration of their acoustic capabilities and characteristics; Conduct studies of the potential extent and impact on the marine environment of high-intensity active naval sonars and seismic surveys and to provide an assessment, on the basis of information to be provided by the Parties without prejudice to their security interests, of the impact of current practices; Review the possibility of introducing noise protection areas, e.g. enclosed seas or basins where the emission of underwater noise can be controlled and should be eliminated as far as possible for the protection of inhabiting marine mammals or endangered species, taking security needs into account. 6. Urges all Parties to endeavour to develop provisions for the effective management of anthropogenic noise in respective regional agreements, too. 7. Charges the Standing Committee to review the technical bases of this Resolution and to develop by the next Conference of the Parties a common set of guidelines on conducting activities known to produce underwater sound with the potential to cause adverse effects on cetaceans taking due account of existing guidelines or guidelines under development under ASCOBANS, OSPAR, IWC and possibly other fora; avoiding duplications of work. 8. Invites Parties to report during the next Conference of the Parties about the progress made on this Resolution. 4

5 9. Instructs the Secretariat and, where appropriate and feasible, the Chairperson and members of the Standing Committee and Scientific Council to draw this resolution to the attention of other relevant intergovernmental organisations, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), namely its Governing Council and Regional Seas Programme, UNICPOLOS, IMO, IWC, Regional Sea Conventions such as HELCOM and OSPAR, Western African Talks on Cetaceans and Their Habitats (WATCH), Pacific Island Region Cetacean MoU (CCPIR), and NATO and for the purpose of information and cooperation, and to keep the Parties informed of progress on this Resolution; as far as shipping is concerned noise emissions should be brought to sustainable solutions within the IMO and the Secretariat is asked to accompany as observer the respective negotiations. 10. Invites the Contracting Parties, without prejudice to their obligations under the Convention, to strive to ensure that their activities within the scope of this resolution avoid harm to cetaceans. S:\_WorkingDocs\COPs\COP9\Documents\Pre-Session\Res & Rec\Eng\Res_9_19_Ocean_Noise_Impacts_on_Cetaceans_E.doc 5

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