Marine mammal mitigation workshop at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

The MMOA  are once again working with Dr. Andrew Wright and the New Zealand Department of Conservation to host a workshop on marine mammal mitigation methods at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. The workshop, 'Incorporating new mitigation technologies into guidelines for seismic surveys and other underwater acoustic activities: Producing performance standards', will be an all day workshop on Sunday 13 December. 

A description of the workshop is as follows:

"The aim of this workshop is to discuss ways to include the ability to assess the viability of potential mitigation measures and new sound source technology into seismic survey guidelines and codes of conduct for other underwater producing activities. Current guidelines are reasonably proscriptive in terms of requiring the use of marine mammal observers (MMOs) and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) at the possible expense of other detection technologies. Similarly, the specific mention of airgun array sizes in seismic survey guidelines may limit the commercial use of potentially less impactful survey technologies. The need for a mechanism for allowing the incorporation of new technologies and methodologies into acoustic exposure guidelines is thus clear. Likewise, it seems likely that this could be best achieved through some performance standard that any technology could be assessed against. However, it is not clear what exactly this performance standard should be. 

One option for mitigation technologies is to use proportion of animals successfully detected, although this requires establishing thresholds for correct detection, false positive and false negative rates. In contrast, new source technologies may require the establishment of target sound propagation levels before they can be introduced. In both cases, the extent to which current technologies are able to meet these standards would need to be assessed. Accordingly, this workshop intends to explore the various options for performance standards and discuss potential threshold levels. Methodologies for measuring if new technologies meet any such standards will also to be discussed."

This workshop is designed as a followup workshop to the one that we hosted with Andrew and the NZ DoC in March at the European Cetacean Society conference in Malta. We are hoping to again gather stakeholders including regulators, agencies, industry, academia and most of all those that work as MMOs and Pam Operators. As MMOs and PAM Operators this is another chance for you to have your voice heard on the subjects of marine mammal mitigation implementation so we are really encouraging members of the MMOA to attend this workshop. 

More information on the workshop can be found here:

https://www.marinemammalscience.org/conference/workshops/#seismic2