According to scientists, there should be a speed limit in the Arctic Ocean that, according to ship noise, prevents animals from reproducing animals.
Scientists investigated the effects of reducing the speed of container and cruise ships by 10 knots.
Instead of traveling at 25 knots (equivalent to about 17 miles per hour), scientists said that driving at 15 knots (equivalent to about 11.5 miles per hour) made "significant" differences to animals such as cod and Beluga Wales.
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According to scientists, there should be a speed limit in the Arctic Ocean that, according to ship noise, prevents the reproduction of animals (Fig.)
The natural underwater soundscape of the western Canadian Arctic has been screened from the din of commercial shipping.
This is because the sea ice covers it, making it almost inaccessible to ships.
However, as large quantities of ice are shrinking in the Arctic Ocean, more and more ships are entering the area.
This trend is expected to accelerate.
A problem with ship transits is how the noise pollution can affect marine animals.
The researchers believe that this could have particularly adverse effects, especially for Arctic cod, which is crucial to the Arctic food web.
"Noise from shipping can lead to acoustic masking, reducing the ability of cod and other marine animals to detect and use sound for communication, avoid foraging, prevent predators, reproduction and navigation," said Matt Pine, more scientific Staff member at the University of Victoria and Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS Canada).
His research team noted that the negative effects of ship noise can be mitigated by reducing ship speed.
The researchers studied the effects of ship noise on cod, two species of whales (Belugas and Greenland heads) and two species of seals (bearded and ringed).
The researchers studied the effects of ship noise on cod (image archive), two species of whales (Belugas and Greenland heads) and two species of seals (bearded and ringed).
WHY IS SHIPPING TO INCREASE THE ARCTIC?
In August 2016, the first large cruise ship sailed through the Northwest Passage, the northern waterway that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific.
The following year, the first ship without an icebreaker followed the Northern Sea Route, a route that ran along the Arctic coast of Russia and until recently was impassable for unaccompanied merchant ships.
In recent decades, parts of the Arctic seas have become increasingly ice-free in late summer and early fall.
As sea ice is expected to continue to decline due to climate change, seasonal shipping is expected to increase from tourism and freight traffic.
The journey through the Arctic Ocean is already beginning, with the Russian route having the greatest potential for merchant ships.
The North Sea route had more than 200 ships from 2011 to 2016, all of which were large ships.
During this time, more than 100 ships passed through the Northwest Passage, with more than half being small private vessels such as personal yachts.
Experts say that even the North Pole could be passable in a few decades.
They created computer simulations of container and cruise ships crossing the western Canadian Arctic via the Northwest Passage.
They examined the influence of each type of ship on the volume of the ocean surrounding the specific fish, seals and whales.
"Our model study shows that the reduction in acoustic masking effects can be significant," Dr. Pine.
He warned, however, that the results were not so clear.
"Acoustic masking effects are quite dynamic, and the slowing down of a vessel does not necessarily have the same benefits to all animals," he said.
For example, minor masking effects have sometimes been observed under certain weather conditions.
In the case of fish, however, the weather conditions had no influence on the masking effects.
This is because their hearing thresholds are above ambient levels in most frequency bands.
"In this case, the type of ship was more important," Dr. Pine, "with cruise ships that reduce their masking effect more when they are 10 knots slower than the container ships approaching the ship."