Four people on a boat in the ocean raise a noisy ruckus in Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up displayed at 50% of viewport width.
April 2021 by Terry Verduin

EFFECTS OF NATURAL & UNNATURAL OCEAN SOUNDS ON MARINE LIFE SURVIVAL

Right-side up, then upside down,
Little Ray loved to act the clown.
The young stingray showed off for friends,
who cheered his leaps and flips and bends.
(Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up)

The effects of unnatural ocean sounds with severe noise pollution threats and harmful consequences are compromising marine life survival and dependence on natural sounds.

Natural Ocean Sounds

Weaves of Green? Rolling tides and gentle waves are natural sounds. Unnatural sounds are loud, obvious and damaging. Water blasts exiting spillways and drains are noisy, life-threatening examples.


Fish “Voices”? Swim bladders, released water and air make barks, bubbles, burps, gnashes, groans, grunts, hisses, hoots, moans and rattles. Tail, fin and body movements produce splashing or thumping sounds.


Behind the Music? Dolphins and whales chirp, squeak, click and whistle with blow holes. Fish with similar respiratory openings may make sucking noises. ReefQuest Centre answers: Do sharks make sounds?

Sound Purposes

Match Play? Animals compete for attention, define boundaries or show submission with sound. It helps them navigate, hunt and communicate. Poor conditions impair sight and smell. Touch has contact risks.


Basic Instinct? Tail thumps mark territory and drive prey for easy dining. Whales' tail thumps, cause fish to group for safety. A whale can swallow an entire school. Masses discourage some predators.


Icebreaker Sounds? Naturally-occurring sound aids in spawning, sheltering, mating, growth, development, feeding and other marine-life functions. Sperm whale clicks are so loud, they can deafen nearby humans.

Gone Fishing

Calls of Nature? University of Texas Marine Science Institute researchers found the Gulf corvina's mating call to be louder than a spot next to a rock-concert stage. This attracts anglers, increasing over-fishing risks.


Peace & Quiet? Yelling and screaming rarely are appropriate. Anglers frown upon noise and things thrown into the water while fishing. Sound-wave vibrations scare fish away from boats, shores and piers.


To the Max? Sound is a mechanical disturbance. As it travels in waves, loudness depends on distance, strength and duration. Sound intensifies in deep water, causing inescapable torment for life under the sea.

Unnatural Ocean Sounds

Wave Strength? Learn scientific details in How does sound travel in shallow water? from DOSIT. The article discusses how sound in the deep travels long distances without hitting sea surfaces or bottoms.


Manifest Destiny? No place is spared. Ice melts and climate change send noise-making machine activities into the Arctic and Antarctic. With less ice blanketing the ocean, the dampening effect of this layer is reduced.


Sound Stage? Bone-rattling rackets can be deadly. Territorial, aggressive and slow animals may not be willing or able to get out of the way of noisy machines. As boat traffic increases, more animals are killed or maimed.

Sound Disturbance

Glory Daze? Sound regulates behavior. Prey flees. Aggressive species attack. Constant noise places animals at risk of predation and disease. It also impacts human safety and enjoyment of the waters.


Show Stopper? Noise has immune system effects. Biologist Julia Purser authored and co-authored articles about injury, death and other harmful effects of constant noise on marine life survival.


Rustic Retreat? Loud noise interferes with rest and impairs hearing. Metabolic problems, developmental delays and physical deformities may worsen after noise stops. Fish Never Sleep, but they need rest.

Hope Floats

Persistent Problem? Without rest, fish become disoriented. This, coupled with hearing loss, makes fish easy prey. It interferes with hunting. The balance of the Eco-system suffers loss of critical populations.


Mechanical Change? Azimuth thrusters are placed in pods, eliminating rudders. They rotate to any horizontal angle, reducing propeller-produced vibrations and shock loads. They create quieter passage.


Apparatus? Sensors and robotics expand development. Ocean Care and Dalhousie University tell The Impact of Ocean Noise Pollution on Fish and Invertebrates from Dr. Lindy Weilgart's probe of scientific studies.

Severe Noise Pollution Threat

Major League? Thundering commotion causes stress. Severe, common, load noise sources include music, engines, depth-sounding devices, sonar blasts, oil drilling booms, construction explosives and survey air guns.


Sound Amplification? Hostile noise reverberates from water-to-land and from land-to-water. Robocalling and spoofing by telemarketers, political parties and hucksters lend a sense for the misery and distraction.


Class Project? “Yes” to noise pollution is a bad answer. To stop voice-hijacking crimes, activists can blow bubbles with straws, spew animal cries or start loud machines. Cons are unlikely to risk another round.

Reverse Harmful Consequences

Another Conversation? Scientific and government laboratories push everyone to reduce recreational and industrial impacts on the environment. NOAA mapped a 10-year strategy to reduce noise pollution.


Home Team? Government wants help. The NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Road Map was launched with invitations for public comment and feedback. Its collaborative guideline benefit visitors and ocean life.


Grass Roots? Phase 2 is the NOAA plan for ocean sound management, planning, regulation and assessment. Public education programs, workshops and tasks forces come with this NOAA Outreach.

International Efforts

Craft Work? Efforts to limit decibels also extend to land and freshwater. The International Maritime Organization is quieting commercial vessels. Sanctuaries are being set aside for marine-life studies.


Partnerships? Partners to UNCLOS set up an Informal Consultative Process and a Working Group of mitigation technologies and management systems by which businesses can reduce ocean noise impacts on marine life.


Open Plan? Canada has the Ocean Protection Plan. The UN has an Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea. Its 19th meeting, Anthropogenic Ocean Noise was global.

Less is More

By Design? Architect Mies van der Rohe coined the phrase to mean that having essential things is better than having many unnecessary things. Simplicity allows focus on what matters in life.


Bold Leader? Everyone can take part in noise pollution reduction by turning off equipment when not in use, lowering entertainment device volumes and regularly maintaining vehicles and mechanical tools.


Sweet Spot? Celebrants of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel should join Little Ray and his shark friend in their battle to protect nature for prosperity. These insiders understand the importance for all lives.