The recent WODA (World Organization of Dredging Associations) workshop in Paris presented the latest knowledge on the acoustic impacts of dredging on aquatic species.
Entitled ‘Underwater Sound in Relation to Dredging’ and held on March 26th 2015, the workshop was based on the work of the two working groups that drafted the Central Dredging Association (CEDA) Position Paper of the same title (November 2011) and the associated WODA Technical Guidance (June 2013).
The WODA workshop was formally opened by Jan Vandenbroeck (SDI, France), member of the CEDA Board of Directors, and Paul Scherrer, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE, France). Delegates then heard from Dr Frank Thomsen (DHI, Denmark), the Chairman of the two working groups, who set the scene for the rest of the day with a summary of the current knowledge illustrated with sound recordings.
During the workshop, participants heard the latest thinking on dredging and underwater sound, from leading international experts in the field, and had a rare opportunity to discuss the ideas presented.
“The presentations and discussions gave a really good and complete view on the topic of underwater sound, sound propagation and possibilities of mitigation. We also know much better now how sound affect aquatic life, with some fish species mostly sensitive to particle motion and other to sound pressure, the mammals being especially sensitive to higher frequencies and therefore not so much affected by dredging sound which are mostly lower frequencies,” Paul Scherrer, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE, France).
“International regulatory organisations such as IMO or OSPAR, which the dredging professional community must interact with (for instance through WODA), can and should play a leading role in setting research targets, interpreting information from science and field experiences, and providing the substantiation for improved future guidance,” Edward Kleverlaan, Head of the Office for LC/LP & Ocean Affairs, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), UK.
“The statement ‘we are lacking information’ was made more than once and it underlines the importance for broad, multi-disciplinary cooperation in research and regulatory frameworks,” Gerard van Raalte, Hydronamic, the Netherlands and Member of the WODA Expert Group Underwater Sound.
The event was attended by more than 50 delegates representing scientists, regulators, policy-makers and practitioners working in dredging and associated fields, and from 6 different countries.