WITNESS

“Human-generated ocean noise is increasing rapidly; it is 10 times louder today than it was just 40 years ago due to transoceanic shipping alone. New ocean technologies for communication, exploration, and extraction threaten to increase this rate exponentially. This is particularly the case in the Arctic where rapidly receding icepacks will expose new shipping routes and new areas for industrial exploitation.”

Michael Stocker, Director, Ocean Conservation Research
DiversWhen a camera goes underwater in a movie or television show, we’re used to hearing… well, not much. It’s typically very quiet, as if the ocean were a calm, peaceful, even soothing aural environment. If anything, we might hear a few bubbles coming from the cameraman’s SCUBA gear. But that’s usually about it.

The fact is, though, that there are lots of sounds under the ocean’s surface. And sea creatures depend on hearing those sounds to find food, mates and to avoid danger. Underwater sounds are a lifeline for sea creatures both large and small. Simply put, when they can’t hear, they can’t live.

Oil FieldThe problem is that more and more of the sounds sea creatures depend on are being drowned out by other sounds – the sounds of a veritable underwater factory. Offshore oil exploration and production along with the engine noises of large ships are creating a deafening cacophony beneath the ocean’s surface. And there are consequences – the destruction of life, habitat and environment.

We currently see this pattern – all too familiar in the Gulf of Mexico – beginning to play out in the Arctic. But there is still time for you to take action. The first step toward taking action, we believe, is to bear witness to what is happening. And that’s what we invite you to do in this section of the site.

Animal Life in the Arctic
Sounds of the Sea
The Future of the Arctic