I am curious: is there is a good list of governmental bodies that have enacted or updated policies based on bioacoustic research? I imagine there have been a lot of white and gray papers in various countries, in their native languages; that makes understanding how effective the field is in driving governmental conservative efforts difficult. Are there any good overseeing bodies or publications that study this?


5 Answers 5


I don't know about an overall summary, but I am aware of some specific examples.

Due to research on noise in the marine environment, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) includes Descriptor 11, concerning underwater noise. The MSFD sets governmental targets to achieve 'Good Environmental Status's in EU waters, and creates incentives for member states to hit environmental protection goals. It isn't perfect, but it is something.

On a smaller scale, in Carretta et al., 2008, found that pingers dramatically reduce beaked whale bycatch in the gill net fishery. On the US west coast, gill net fishers use pingers as a result.


Carretta, J., Barlow, J., & Enriquez, L. (2008). Acoustic pingers eliminate beaked whale bycatch in a gill net fishery. Publications, Agencies and Staff of the US Department of Commerce, 47.


The NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy identifies a vision for

'addressing ocean noise impacts to the species, ecosystems and places it is entrusted to protect and guide science and management actions towards that vision'

They lay out a Strategic Roadmap and support a variety of tools for scientists and managers related to ocean noise (including . While this is a U.S. government agency focused on issues related to the U.S., it relies on a global body of research.


Canada's Ocean Protection Plan is being led by Transport Canada and has certainly been influenced by mounting evidence that noise pollution impacts marine species, especially cetaceans. This includes measures to:

  • Increased our use of world-renowned digital hydrophone and oceanographic technologies to better understand the underwater acoustic environment. What we learn through these technologies will help us create strategies to protect marine mammals from harmful noise.
  • Funded several research projects to better understand the impact of shipping-related noise on whales, including:
    • a comprehensive health and condition assessment of Southern and Northern Resident killer whales to better understand how they're impacted by different environmental stressors, including noise.
    • how noise impacts Southern Resident killer whales' ability to use echolocation to detect their prey, as well as how underwater noise impacts Chinook salmon (their primary food source).

An Ocean Noise Strategy is being developed as part of the Ocean Protection Plan by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This strategy will inform a whole-of-government approach to addressing underwater noise in our oceans. The processes included a 90-day public comment period. The initial recommendations of the strategy will be released later in 2022.

Sources: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/oceans-protection-plan https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/noise-bruit/index-eng.html


I don't know of a single summary document, but wading through more than 20 years of environmental impact statements and environmental assessments, you can see changes the US Navy has made both in the manner in which it trains and which it analyzes environmental impacts. These changes have been heavily influenced by an ongoing accumulation of bioacoustic research over the last two decades.

Some examples:

  1. Department of the Navy (1998). "Final Environmental Impact Statement, Shock Testing the SEAWOLF Submarine," (Department of the Navy, Washington, DC), p. 563.
  2. Department of the Navy (DoN) (2001). "Final Environmental Impact Statement, Shock trial of the WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG81)," (Department of the Navy, Washington, DC).
  3. Department of the Navy (DoN) (2001). "Final Overseas Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Statement for Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Low Frequency Active (SURTASS LFA) Sonar " (Department of the Navy, Washington, DC), p. 688.
  4. Department of the Navy (DoN) (2008). "Hawaii Range Complex Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS)," (U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, DC).
  5. Department of the Navy (DoN) (2008). "Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training: Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS/OEIS)," (Department of the Navy, Washington, DC), p. 590.
  6. Department of the Navy (DoN) (2008). "Southern California Range Complex: Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement," edited by NOAA, and NMFS (Department of the Navy, Washington, DC).
  7. Department of the Navy (DoN) (2013). "Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing: Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS/OEIS)," (Department of the Navy, Washington, DC).
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    $\begingroup$ would you mind to augment your answer to address where the different EIS changed significantly? The list per se is not very useful. $\endgroup$
    – WMXZ
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 18:09

Apologies for answering the opposite question to the one asked - but you may be interested in this recent JNCC report that asked how bioacoustics could help provide data to support policy development:

Realising the potential for acoustic monitoring to address environmental policy needs (JNCC Report No. 707) at: https://hub.jncc.gov.uk/assets/7cfd1a80-1369-437b-ab6f-e76dfe8db9d4

"In this report, we discuss key policy needs that are driving the requirements for information on biodiversity. This includes the need for species and habitat information as well as the desire for information on ecosystem ‘health’, ecosystem services and function, impacts of interventions, and how to better engage people with nature. As acoustic monitoring methods develop, they could help address many of these policy needs. We highlight those methods with the greatest potential to meet these needs, including low-cost sensors, cross-taxa recording, acoustic signals of function, soundscape analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) classification and citizen science."


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