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Dolphins At Risk


Pile driving and industrial noise may adversely affect dolphin behaviour, communication and breeding, according to a scientific paper in CIWEM’s Water and Environment Journal.

Bottlenose dolphins that reside in designated Special Areas of Conservation throughout the UK, including Dorset, Anglesey and Cornwall, might be at risk from pile driving. The frequency range of pile driving noise could interfere with their ability to communicate, find food and avoid predators. This has the potential to affect their behaviour, health and their ability to breed successfully. Lactating females and young calves might be particularly vulnerable

Recently more than 600 dolphins died mysteriously off the Indian Ocean archipelago in Zanzibar. The phenomenon has created a stir among marine experts, with varying theories that the Indian Ocean Bottlenose dolphins may have been hurt by pollution or underwater noise.

Author, Dr. Jonathan David, MCIWEM, suggests that mitigation measures be put in place to help prevent any adverse impacts upon dolphin populations. Operations should be restricted to low tide and suspended during calving season, an exclusion zone should be monitored before any activity starts and marine work should cease if a dolphin enters the work area. Other innovative ideas include creating an air bubble curtain and creating a ramped warning signal to give dolphins time to leave the area before work commences.

Dr David also calls for further research into the reactions of marine mammals to industrial noise to help mitigate future effects in relation to the increase in off-shore industry, such as the construction of wind farms.

Other wide ranging topics covered in the new edition of the Water and Environment Journal include the Water Framework Directive, the Gaza Strip, environmental sustainability and oil spills in Egyptian waters.

The Water and Environment Journal is The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s main peer-reviewed publication and can trace its origins back to the 1890’s. And with a new Editor-in Chief, Professor David Butler, and a new partnership with Blackwell Publishing, the Journal is moving from strength to strength.

Now available both online and in print, the Journal is breaking new ground by being the first in the sector to be printed on 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, as is appropriate for a publication dedicated to promoting environmental best practice.

As David Butler says, ‘Our goal is to build on the Journal’s deserved reputation by publishing the best papers in the field from around the world. I hope that our readers will enjoy the improved accessibility and enhanced layout and I am confident that our new partnership with Blackwell Publishing will help us to extend its worldwide readership.’

The Journal is published quarterly and can be ordered online through CIWEM’s website. CIWEM members receive a copy as part of their membership.

Emily Doyle | alfa
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