Joint ACCOBAMS/ASCOBANS Workshop on noise

Fostering inter-regional cooperation in underwater noise monitoring & impact assessment in waters around Europe, within the context of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive



To gather information about noise monitoring in waters surrounding Europe six years after the publication of the MSFD guidelines for descriptor 11 (noise) of Good Environmental Status.

To harmonise regional noise registers currently existing or under development in waters surrounding Europe.

To gather expert opinion on potential improvements of monitoring methods used by countries and/or defined by the MSFD. Time allowing, to gather expert opinion about a noise impact indicator.

To elaborate a recommendation to the European Commission about this issue, to be approved by the ECS.



Underwater noise is considered by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, Descriptor 11), by the Ecosystem Approach Process (EcAP) of the Barcelona Convention (Objective 11) and by other international agreements concerning the good environmental status of seas around Europe. An important task identified by these agreements is to fill knowledge gaps about current underwater noise levels. The MSFD defines two indicators: loud, low and mid-frequency impulsive sounds (11.1.1), and continuous low frequency sound (11.2.1), widely referred to as “ambient noise”. Recent initiatives for noise monitoring are the impulsive noise registers developed by ICES for the OSPAR and HELCOM regions (, and by ACCOBAMS for the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding regions ( Other initiatives, such as project JOMOPANS in the North Sea (OSPAR region II), address the need for integrated ambient noise monitoring programmes. The first part of this workshop will invite national experts to present these initiatives and discuss practical issues to promote inter-regional cooperation for noise registers. The second part of the workshop aims to compile technical opinion and advice about current definitions of Descriptor 11 from ECS experts in the field of underwater bioacoustics. A set of questions about current criteria for noise monitoring and potential indicators of noise impact by the MSFD will be distributed to ECS experts, and the responses will be analysed at the workshop. The workshop may result in a proposal for a resolution by the ECS to the European Commission for potential improvements to Descriptor 11, to be presented for approval at the General Assembly.


Final Report :  PDF download Accobams