Needed: a silent sea sanctuary.

Science Direct has a copy of the study recommending a soundproofed sanctuary for dolphins and other sonar-using marine life:

Many marine organisms, from invertebrates to fish to marine mammals, use acoustic cues to find food, avoid predators, choose mates, and navigate. Ocean noise can affect animal behavior and disrupt trophic linkages. Substantial potential exists for area-based management to reduce exposure of animals to chronic ocean noise. Incorporating noise into spatial planning (e.g., critical habitat designation or marine protected areas) may improve ecological integrity and promote ecological resilience to withstand additional stressors. Previous work identified areas with high ship noise requiring mitigation. This study introduces the concept of “opportunity sites” — important habitats that experience low ship noise. Working with existing patterns in ocean noise and animal distribution will facilitate conservation gains while minimizing societal costs, by identifying opportunities to protect important wildlife habitats that happen to be quiet.

Few studies have examined the complement — namely, places where marine mammals are present in high densities, but where anthropogenic noise levels are low. Our own work reflects this tradition: we have published risk maps previously (Erbe et al., 2014), but present the opposite – namely opportunity maps – for the first time here.

We do not intend to minimize the amount of work that it will take to make noisy areas quieter. But one of the lessons learned from other pollution-prevention exercises is that it pays to start with so-called “low-hanging fruit” (Hart and Ahuja, 1996). Shipping noise is expected to follow a power law, such that quieting the noisiest 10% of ships or so should result in much larger reductions in ambient noise (Leaper and Renilson, 2012). While waiting for such mitigation measures to take place, we have a time-limited period to identify important areas that are still quiet.

[via Mongabay, which also has quotes from some of the researchers – and maps]