There's a new phenomenon. Well, new to me. I'm not always the first to catch onto new things online. Millions and millions of people have downloaded videos from YouTube that bring the natural world into their home or workplace. I'm talking about sounds. Through a YouTube video, you can listen to the sounds of night crickets for 37 minutes straight (48,500 others have):
As you are probably aware, marine mammals of all types hear very well under water. You may also be aware that much of Johnstone Strait is considered critical habitat for the Northern Resident Killer Whales of B.C. And one more thing, Johnstone Strait also sees a lot of ship traffic; ships large and small, ferries, cruise ships, tugs, fishing boats and recreational boats. You see where I'm going with this? Ships and boats are noisy. If you live underwater and your regular home range is getting busier and busier with noisy traffic, maybe you'd be looking for a refuge from that noise, some headphones with the sound of your favourite rubbing beach just around the corner.
I raise the issue because we all need to think hard about the acoustic environment that marine creatures live in and how we alter it everyday. Many marine creatures use sound to communicate with their buddies and they need to be able to listen for their prey or predators as well. Noise disturbs all these natural patterns and marine creatures need areas of acoustic peace to retreat to, just like us.
What to do? My colleagues and I at Living Oceans Society can and will raise awareness of the issue at marine planning tables in the region. This is a start. We need more people to see (and hear) that ocean noise is a problem, one that needs mitigation, and this in turn will foster the political will to implement change and the entrepreneurial spirit to produce quieter marine technology.
Ready for more YouTube sounds? Try this one called THE MOST RELAXING SOUNDS, viewed by more that 1.7 million people!