The first report ”Overview of the Noise Hotspots in the ACCOBAMS Area. Part I– Mediterranean Sea“ has been published

For marine organisms sound is one of the main means of communication, orientation, hunting prey or search for partners. Large whales, in almost endless blue ocean, use the sound that travels hundreds of kilometres to stay connected to each other. Dolphins use advanced and very precise echolocation system which allows them to clearly “see” their environment and prey. Sound allows them to communicate and transfer information. Sound is of vital importance to many other organisms – sea turtles, fish and marine invertebrates.

Unfortunately, all of these marine organisms are living in the environment in whi ch human activities during the last 50 years increased noise levels by tenfold! Thus impact of noise on marine organisms has increased dramatically. Some areas are kind of hot spots in which the accumulation of the various noise sources renders the survival of certain species almost impossible.

The Blue World Institute during last ten years carried out research on the impact of noise on the local community of bottlenose dolphins in the Lošinj and Kvarnerić. In this area, as in the whole coastal area of the Adriatic, recreational vessels are one of the main sources of noise especially in the summer. The results of our study clearly showed that the significant increase in noise in the summer is the reason why dolphins avoid certain areas. This reduces the availability of habitats for dolphins and causes stress that can have long-term impact on their survival in the area. Research of Blue World Institute is the first research linking an increase of noise in the environment and habitat use of bottlenose dolphins and has been published as papers in several scientific journals[1],[2],[3],[4]!

In the open part of the Adriatic Sea significant source of noise comes from commercial vessels calling in the Adriatic northern-most ports (Ravenna, Venice, Trieste, Koper, Rijeka). Planned activities to increase port traffic will lead to a significant increase in noise. Unfortunately, in recent years a new, important source of noise is present in the Adriatic – seismic surveys for oil and gas. Unlike fairly localized noise from tourist recreation in coastal areas, seismic research with regard to the strong underwater explosions produced by “air guns” in order to map the geological composition of the bottom, are causing a significant increase in noise in the wider area and have an impact on large parts of the Adriatic Sea. That is why the Blue World Institute in 2013 and 2014 informed the public about unprecedented extent of the seismic activities in the Croatian Adriatic coast that took place during nearly four months without any monitoring, without mitigation and protection measures and without environmental impact studies.

Since levels of noise in the sea almost continuously increase what can have disastrous consequences for the survival of species sensitive to noise, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans (Cetacea) in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) commissioned drafting of the first report on the noise sources in the Mediterranean Sea in order to identify areas of interest, suggested further scientific assessment and in order to design effective measures of protection. After examining the report and presented the map, it is clear that noise and its sources in the Adriatic Sea are also rather significant. It is therefore necessary to start with the development of the registry of anthropogenic sources of noise in the Adriatic as quickly as possible, as it is also one of the obligations in implementing the Framework Directive of the EU Marine Strategy.

Blue World Institute as a partner of ACCOBAMS and associate of OceanCare NGO transmits the press release regarding the publication of the report ” Overview of the Noise Hotspots in the ACCOBAMS Area. Part I – Mediterranean Sea”[5].

OceanCare press release:

„It is very loud in the Mediterranean Sea: Scientists present the first basin-wide map reflecting the density of underwater noise sources in the region”



Full report can be downloaded from:

Additional information:

Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation

Kaštel 24, HR-51551 Veli Lošinj, Croatia

tel. +385 51 604666


[1] Rako N., Fortuna C.M., Holcer D., Mackelworth P., Nimak-Wood M., Pleslić G., Sebastianutto L., Vilibić I., Wiemann A. i Picciulin M. (2013) Leisure boating noise as a trigger for the displacement of the bottlenose dolphins of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago (northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia). Marine Pollution Bulletin 68, 77-84.

[2] Rako N., Picciulin M., Vilibić I. i Fortuna C.M. (2013) Spatial and temporal variability of sea ambient noise as an anthropogenic pressure index: the case of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago, Croatia. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93, 27-36.

[3] Picciulin M., Sebastianutto L., Fortuna C.M., Mackelworth C.P., Holcer D. i Rako N. (2013) Are the 1/3 Octave 63 and 125 Band Noise Levels Predictive ofVessel? The Case of Cres-Lošinj Archipelago (Northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia).In: Third International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life, Budapest, Hungary.

[4] Rako N., Picciulin M., Mackelworth C.P., Holcer D. i Fortuna C.M. (2012) Long-term monitoring of anthropogenic noise and its relationship to bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) distribution in the Cres-Lošinj archipelago, northern Adriatic, Croatia. In: The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life (eds. by Popper AN i Hawkins A), pp. 323-325. Springer, Dordrecht.

[5] Maglio A., Pavan G., Castellote M., Frey S. (2015). “Overview of the Noise Hotspots in the ACCOBAMS Area. Part I – Mediterranean Sea”. A report prepared for the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea,Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS). DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.2574.8560/1