The JIP takes an active role in providing information to understand and reduce the risk of potential impacts of exploration and production sound on marine life.
The JIP has a research stream dedicated to developing monitoring and mitigation techniques, technologies and methods. For example the JIP continued the development of PAMGuard, a software system for detecting the presence of marine mammals near seismic operations. Such information enables operators to make informed decisions as whether or not to implement a mitigation action, such as to shut down a sound source to prevent any risk to marine mammals.
Areas of Interest
Development of an active source for detecting whales in airgun safety zones
Visual detection of marine mammals is limited by wave height, light level, storms, and fog. Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) is not so limited but cannot detect the presence of silent animals.
PAM: PAMGuard III and IV software development and PAMGuard industry field trial 2008
Regulatory authorities encourage or stipulate the use of passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) prior to and during start-up. Real-time localisation and tracking of vocalising marine mammals is needed to trigger the array shut-downs required by permits
PAM software development for PAMGuard
Software that can detect animals, classify them to species, and locate them in three dimensions (called DCL software) is essential to PAMGuard. The Programme funded three projects to improve PAMGuard’s DCL capabilities.
PAM: PAMGuard maintenance and support 2008-13
A basic PAMGuard Support Function has been provided since 2009 to correct software problems, help build user confidence, and assist commercial users of PAM to ‘get started’ with PAMGuard. This basic support is critical if PAMGuard software is to become a standard user interface for PAM.
Integration and testing of an acoustic vector sensor into 3-D tracking PAM array to resolve left-right ambiguities
Conventional towed PAM systems using single hydrophone arrays cannot discriminate animal calls arriving from the right side of a ship from those arriving from the left. Ship manoeuvres can resolve this so-called right-left ambiguity but are not feasible during seismic surveys.
Collection and analysis of existing Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) data
Properly-collected MMO and other data can help reveal the distribution of marine mammals and their reaction to anthropogenic activities. Current monitoring protocols for MMOs vary among projects, types of operation, the operator's requirements, and the host country's regulatory requirements.
Density Estimation for Cetaceans from Passive Acoustic Fixed Sensors (DECAF)
Fixed installation PAM systems allow industry to acoustically monitor marine mammals over a given area for extended periods (years to decades). When these data are analysed in real time they can affect decisions during ongoing E&P operations and possibly reduce some risks.
A review and inventory of fixed installation Passive Acoustic Monitoring methods and technologies
The Programme has discussed methods for assessing the effect of industry operations on animals from initial exploration through production to eventual structure removal, a so-called Life-of-the-Field approach that may last decades.