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EIA Applauds IWC For Passing Resolution Addressing Underwater Noise Impacts to Protect Whales

Florianopolis, 12th September 2018 - The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) commends the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for passing by consensus a new Resolution focused on addressing the impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise on cetaceans. For Arctic species such as bowhead whales, beluga whales, and narwhals, increasing noise levels raise the risk of interference with vital behaviors including communications, foraging, mating and calving.

The Resolution, co-sponsored by the European Union Member States, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Monaco, Panama, Switzerland and South Africa, commits the IWC’s Scientific Committee to review the impacts of underwater noise on cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) along with the effectiveness of mitigation options. It also tasks the IWC’s Conservation Committee with developing a list of priority actions to address the impacts of underwater noise on cetaceans. The Resolution further calls for action and cooperation in other international forums like the International Maritime Organization.

“As the Arctic experiences less ice cover and more industrialization and ship traffic, the volume of underwater noise will only increase,” said Daniel Hubbell, Policy Analyst for EIA. “This Resolution is a welcome and necessary step in the right direction towards sustaining an Arctic where whale songs are not drowned out by human noise.”

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