Oil Leak 178 Could plans to expand Aberdeen Harbour drive dolphins away?

Following on from our oil leaks on disturbance to EPS – here’s a topical story from the P&J earlier in the week:

Could plans to expand Aberdeen Harbour drive dolphins away?

“Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) claim the noise during construction, and an increase in underwater noise due to more shipping traffic, could cause problems for the dolphin population.

Dr Denise Risch, an underwater noise researcher with SAMS, said: “With the harbour being expanded the potential is there for dolphins to be harmed by the increased noise or driven away from the area because of that.

“An increase in noise could cause dolphins to lose their hearing, this would mean they wouldn’t be able to find food or communicate with each other.

“If dolphins are exposed to an increase in noise over a sustained period studies have shown they leave an area either temporarily or more permanently.””

This is of course the same population was have in the in the inner Moray Firth. Underwater noise does affect dolphins – in Aberdeen harbour the ship pass through, with STS they stay at anchor in the same place. We will be very interested to read the section on underwater noise and its effect on dolphins in the new application, if and when it comes.