Continuous underwater noise from shipping has been identified as one of the main contributors to ambient noise levels in the oceans. Notwithstanding the potential impacts on marine life, the subject started receiving attention from international and regional regulatory bodies only very recently. Last year, the European Maritime Safety Agency commissioned a study to consolidate information about continuous underwater noise from shipping in order to derive recommendations for a future multi-stakeholder strategy within Europe. The work reviewed information about sources of continuous noise, environmental impacts, the policies in place to manage underwater noise and available mitigation measures to reduce noise levels. Effective management of underwater noise from ships is a multi-sectoral challenge requiring coordination between different policies and stakeholders. Based on an online survey and a number of interviews, it was possible to elucidate: 1) how different stakeholders interact; 2) the main drivers for addressing underwater noise; and 3) possible strategies for tackling the subject effectively. Additionally, considerations and lessons learned from ECHO program in Canada were analysed as a case study. The paper will describe the main activities carried out in the project, focusing on recommendations for effective mitigation of ship noise.

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