Establishing appropriate metrics for the management of underwater noise for Southern resident killer whales

Framework For Standardized Metrics

In May 2017, the Coastal Ocean Research Institute convened a workshop with the goal of identifying the characteristics of underwater noise that negatively impact southern resident killer whales (SRKW) and developing a framework for standardized metrics for measuring, comparing and detecting trends in their underwater soundscape.  Rather than describing an overall threshold for noise exposure for the whales, the workshop participants agreed that the range of the impacts should be captured in three key metrics; the first focuses on noise-induced changes in behavior, physiology and/or health.  The second focused on communication masking (which impairs social integrity, social interactions and foraging coordination), and the third focused on echolocation masking (which impairs foraging and navigation).  These recommended metrics were put forward to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who sponsored the meeting, to shape future underwater noise guidelines.

About the Coastal Ocean Report Series

The Coastal Ocean Report Series presents scientific summaries and practical recommendations to decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public based on the best available science. The Reports represent the work of experts from different disciplines, locations, and affiliations who come together in an atmosphere of cooperation and reason to focus on a specific topic or geographic area for a limited amount of time. Experts were convened by the Coastal Ocean Research Institute (CORI) in Vancouver, Canada. CORI was established by Ocean Wise to produce and communicate scientific knowledge and understanding in service of protecting aquatic life and habitats, informing responsible human activity, and safeguarding communities.

Authors: Kathy Heise, Lance Barrett-Lennard, Ross Chapman, Tom Dakin, Christine Erbe, David Hannay, Nathan Merchant, James Pilkington, Sheila Thornton, Dom Tollit, Svein Vagle, Val Veirs, Valeria Vergara, Jason Wood, Brianna Wright, Harald Yurk

COASTAL OCEAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Coastal Ocean Report Series
Volume 2017/2
DOI: 10.25317/CORI20172