As much good as the maritime industry has done for humanity by improving technology, the balance of nature of things has to pay a price in the process as well. As the use of ships for transportation increases, the negative consequences on the environment are coming to light. Noise pollution, in particular, has a significant impact on marine life.
First, noise goes a lot farther in water than it does in air, and secondly, marine life is very vulnerable to noise pollution. Because marine life is so reliant on underwater noises for such essential processes as finding food and mates and has no safeguards in place to protect them, underwater noise pollution has a greater impact.
Ships, low-frequency sonar’sounds,’ oil and gas exploration, seismic air cannon noise, commercial maritime traffic, coastal jet ski traffic, and other sources of noise pollution all contribute to the problem. Despite the fact that these’sounds’ may have no effect on humans, marine life has been shown to be negatively affected by them. Whale and dolphin populations have decreased in regions where ships emit high levels of noise pollution.
Whales, for example, may perish within a few hours after being exposed to excessive underwater noise because they are stranded. Noise pollution often results in people going to the beach soon after just a tactical sonar drill. Sonar drills are prevalent in places like, Madeira, Greece, Hawaii, Spain, and the US east coast, and reports of beaching have been made there as well.
As a result of excessive noise in Spanish coastal waters, squid were stranded in large numbers between 2001 and 2003. Beaching may happen only a few hours after a workout like this. One of the numerous repercussions of ocean noise pollution is the relocation of marine species to a new place. Despite the fact that this may seem to be a means of survival, investigations of these creatures in the future have shown that adaptation to the new habitat is difficult for most animals, and biodiversity has been lost in many locations as a result.
The creatures suffer the most from the effects of underwater noise pollution. The strange noises frighten most animals. Histological changes in diving behaviour, migration to other habitats, and the destruction of internal organs, as well as a generalised fear reaction, may all contribute to the fatalities. Underwater noise pollution also interferes with marine species’ usual communication. This implies that animals that are sensitive to noise pollution will be unable to communicate with one another, find food, or even cry out for aid if they are exposed to excessive noise.
The ears of many marine creatures, including fish, are severely damaged when they are exposed to seismic air cannons that travel several kilometres. As a result of exposure to noise at an early level, fish are more vulnerable at birth and are more susceptible to genetic abnormalities. Not only can human migration alter the ocean’s biodiversity, but it also has unintended consequences for marine life. Many fish species, such as herring, cod, and blue whiting, have seen their catches drop, particularly in locations vulnerable to ship noise pollution.
Ocean noise pollution affects different marine organisms in different ways. Unlike cetaceans such whales and dolphins, soft-shelled animals like mollusks, prawns, and fish are considerably more vulnerable to the effects of radiation. However, 24 cetacean species has showed harmful consequences of noise pollution in the water. In all, 55 sea creatures have been found to have been negatively affected by sound exposure of varied frequencies. ‘ Sperm whales, grey whales, mink and pygmy whales, killer whales, sea bass and pink snapper, goldfish and cod, haddock and bluefin tuna are just a few of the many species that can be found in the oceans across the world.
The ocean is known as the “quiet planet” for a reason. They don’t need or want alien noises to disturb the tranquilly of their world in this planet, where there are sounds of their own. More research is being done to better understand the impacts of maritime noise pollution. Safety via prevention is our greatest bet at preserving the sacredness of this “quiet world” until a safe method can be devised to prevent marine species from continuing to commit mass suicide caused by human blunders.