Cetaceans rely on sounds for their survival. Marine environmental degradation due to increased noise levels, including noise from seismic surveys, is an issue of great concern. In many Latin American (LA) countries, these activities proceed without robust environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and effective mitigation plans to minimize impacts on marine life. Only Brazil and Peru have enacted statutory guidelines to mitigate such impacts within their national waters. Colombian environmental authorities impose adoption of JNCC Seismic Guidelines. Some countries and oil companies voluntarily adopt mitigation measures set in the legislation of other countries. EIAs are mandatory to obtain licenses for seismic surveys in 11 countries of the region; however, only Argentina, Brazil and Colombia have specific guidelines to conduct such EIAs but they still suffer some flaws. Application of EIAs, baseline surveillance and real-time monitoring and mitigation of seismic surveys by most LA countries is very poor. There is an urgency to increase awareness among LA countries and urge regulators to enact and enforce proper legislation for marine seismic survey activities. This paper supports the idea of an international legislation to regulate seismic surveys and make some recommendations that should be addressed by the international guidelines.

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