Manila, 26th October 2017: At the 12th Meeting of the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) the representatives of its more than 120 Member States have finished negotiations of most of the agenda items and listing proposals. The negotiated versions are being reviewed and prepared for tomorrow, Friday, 27th October. They will be presented for final adoption at Plenary on the last day of the Meeting, Saturday, 28th of October. One of the most pressing and sensitive initiatives discussed has been Guidelines for Governments when requesting noise-generating industries to complete robust Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) about their proposed activities that will pollute the world’s oceans acoustically.

Until now, in many regions poor assessments are undertaken, if at all. They rarely address the serious impacts of the noise they create on marine wildlife and the wider marine ecosystem. While behavioural changes, displacement, temporary or permanent hearing loss or physical damage, including death, had been documented for many marine mammal species, recent studies have provided a new dimension of concern. Intense noise activities can have fatal consequences on fish species and even zooplankton and therefore have a severe impact on the whole foodweb.

„If you want to sleep without being disturbed, to have proper conversations with your friends, hear birds singing and decide whether you want to attend a rock concert or go to a dance club, that you can leave at your own will,  anytime or when it is over after a few hours, you will understand that marine wildlife should have this right as well. They deserve to have their habitat protected from noise created by humans“ says Nicolas Entrup, spokesperson of OceanCare and NRDC at the CMS COP12 in Manila. „Therefore, it is implicit that proper management of our noise-generating activities are implemented“.

„Intense noise sources can be lethal. It is high time that we properly assess activities that have devastating potential to impact whole marine ecosystems. We strongly encourage the CMS Parties to adopt those guidelines“ says Margi Prideaux of Wild Migration. The Guidelines have undergone an exhaustive consultation process over several months, are developed in close collaboration with international experts, and provide a useful tool for management authorities around the world.

All proposals will be decided upon on Saturday, 28t October at the CMS COP12 in Manila, the Philippines.