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This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project C5 - "Quantification of risk from shipping to large marine fauna across Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Given the substantial increases in coastal/port development along the Australian coastline, and associated increase in recreational and commercial shipping, there is an increasing potential for adverse interactions with marine species. Two risks associated with these activities for large marine fauna are ship collisions and the impact of chronic ocean noise. Research is urgently needed to quantify these risks in both a spatial and temporal context to help develop and implement appropriate management strategies. This project aims to provide directed science (species- and area-specific) to inform decision-making by the Department of Environment in its application of the EPBC Act. Planned Outputs • Initial scoping report of ship strike risk summarising what is currently known about species that were tentatively nominated as being at-risk for ship strike, the data available, shipping size/type data needed and recommendations on what species to investigate further with a qualitative ranking from easiest to most difficult. • AIS data base for the Australian EZ and initial processing protocols. • Full Australia-wide fine-scale shipping density and average speed maps for 2012 – present including information such as vessel length, beam and draft. This data will directly feed into future noise mapping. • A national map of approximate density of small vessel distribution based on available proxies such as population density, boat registration data and boat ramp locations. • A suite of distribution and density surfaces for the various species nominated during Phase 1; • Spatial and temporal risk profiles for selected species. The risk maps will range from full fine-scale maps when data is present, to coarse-scale ‘regions of concern’ for species where distribution data is limited to approximate extent. • An updated version of a database of ship strikes (historical and recent) within the Australian EEZ Report on national ship strike risk to the limits of current data and knowledge. • Report on our ship strike risk methodological developments • Report on initial shipping noise mapping • Report on the recommendations and findings of the 2017 workshop on chronic noise in the marine environment.
Map of cumulative sound exposure from shipping in the GBR for winter 2015 (June-September).
Over the past century there have been significant global increases in anthropogenic underwater noise from a range of sources, such as commercial shipping, oil and gas exploration, recreational and military sound sources. Anthropogenic noise has been demonstrated to impact marine animals, in particular marine mammals that rely on sound for communication, foraging, and navigation. Sound exposure may impair hearing mechanisms temporarily or permanently, with impacts ranging from temporary behavioural responses and stress, to longer term habitat avoidance, hearing loss, or mortality. Commercial shipping is thought to contribute to a significant portion of the underwater noise generated by human activity, driven by marine transport network expansion, urbanization, and greater demand for natural resources. This project aimed to quantify underwater noise from ships in Australian waters, with the ultimate goal of guiding the management of noise impacts on marine fauna. This record describes a gridded map of cumulative sound exposure from shipping in the Australian EEZ for a typical April-September period.