A letter from over 50 leading scientists has been sent to US President Barack Obama asking him to keep the Atlantic Ocean free of planned, noisy oil exploration projects in order to protect whales, dolphins, and other marine life. The letter follows the recent announcement by the Obama administration that parts of the Atlantic coast would be opened up for drilling, with leases for oil and gas development to be awarded from 2017. Nine applications to drill are now being looked into.
Noise pollution threatens whale and dolphin populations, interrupting their normal behaviour, driving them away from areas important to their survival, and at worst injuring or sometimes even causing their deaths. For whales and dolphins, ‘listening’ is as important as ‘seeing’ is for humans, yet there are still no international regulations regarding noise pollution in the world’s seas.