Ship noises could hurt endangered whale species

Low-frequency noises coming out from passing ships could negatively impact animals such as killer whales and dolphins far more than previously thought, confirms a new study.

These noises will drastically affect the animal’s ability to communicate each other, and they will also face hurdles in locating their prey.

A team of researchers under the leadership of Scott Veirs have conducted this study, and the findings are now the top talking topic among environmentalists and nature lovers.

The findings published in PeerJ indicates that smaller toothed whales, such as orcas and highly intelligent dolphins, could be hurt by the low-frequency ship rumblings which are known for creating adverse impacts on the communication of large whales.

“The primary concern at this juncture is something very crucial. A slight increase in sound may make echolocation harder for whales.

This is worrying as the main prey of killer whales which are chinook salmons are already rare, and due to these noises, it became even harder for the whales to locate their prey”, said Veirs.

The researchers have used underwater microphones, and they have measured the noise created by 1600 individual ships which passed through Haro Strait, in Washington state.

The research lasted for two years, and in this span, they studied the noise created by various vessels which include, cruise ships, container vessels and military ships.

According to Scott Veirs, one of the best ways by which we can reduce the noise is by slowing the pace of our course. The researchers found that decreasing the speed by six knots could reduce noise intensity by half. Scott also added that military vehicles are quite silent when compared to other commercial fleets.

“Military vehicles are comparatively of less noise when compared to other commercial fleets.

It would be great if there are any ways to transfer the same technology to commercial fleets so that noise pollution will be reduced”, said Scott Veirs.