Marine Environmental Risk Management Capability

Environmental Risk Management Capability
Marine mammal strandings have, in recent years, raised awareness of the potential impact of underwater noise from activities such as oil exploration, construction and military operations.

Our Environmental Risk Management Capability (ERMC) system provides operators with guidance on likely impacts on marine mammals when conducting underwater sonar operations. The tool conducts noise assessments and takes into account the length and type of sonar activity.

Using Statistical Algorithms for Estimating the Sonar Influence on Marine Megafauna (SAFESIMM), we can help to assess each and potential impact on marine life.

Taking into account the propagation loss within the environment, we create a 3D sound map which is used by SAFESIMM to model the population of marine mammals. The audiogram from each of the species is then mapped against the sound field to determine potential consequences. 

The impact is measured in terms of Temporary Threshold Shift (short term damage) and Permanent Threshold Shift (permanent damage).  A series of geographically based Traffic Lights are then produced to inform the operator of the level of risk associated with the planned sonar operation. The tool then presents a series of mitigation activities that can be used to reduce the level of risk and meet legislation. 

ERMC can be used as an operational tool or for planning purposes to ensure  compliance with legislation and reduce  the time, cost and effort of  detailed plans and compliance reports.

The SAFESIMM algorithm was produced by St Andrews University and peer reviewed by both the global scientific community and UK marine government agencies.