The second round of negotiations at United Nations Headquarters to develop a new international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) will take place from August 26th to September 9th, 2016. OceanCare will provide input on how measures for the management of underwater noise pollution can be incorporated into the new instrument and will sponsor a side event on the topic on September 7th.

OceanCare has been invited to participate in this groundbreaking international process under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect the high seas and deep seabed, also known as areas beyond national jurisdiction or ABNJ. The meeting is the second of four Preparatory Committee sessions scheduled in 2016 and 2017, each lasting two weeks, with the aim of leading to a formal intergovernmental treaty conference in 2018. OceanCare will be represented at the talks by Lora L. Nordtvedt Reeve.

Managing the impacts of human-generated underwater noise pollution in the ocean is crucial to preserving biological diversity in marine ABNJ. An extensive and rapidly growing base of scientific research has documented the significant adverse effects of noise on a wide array of marine species, including whales, dolphins, fish, squid, crabs and corals. Ocean acidification due to climate change will likely increase these negative impacts by allowing some frequencies of noise to spread even farther and faster.

OceanCare envisions the new UN instrument as an important opportunity to advance the management of ocean noise pollution through the express inclusion of appropriate measures in the enabling framework.

The side event sponsored by OceanCare will provide BBNJ Preparatory Committee delegates with information on how protection from noise pollution can be incorporated into the new instrument, with a specific focus on the elements for Environmental Impact Assessments and Marine Protected Areas.