Marine mammal mitigation

Marine mammal mitigation is often used (and sometimes required) to minimise the effects of industrial operations on marine mammals. Such activities include, but are not limited to: seismic surveys, pile driving, drilling, dredging, explosives and seabed mapping. Marine mammal mitigation is used to ensure there are no marine mammals in the immediate vicinity before any loud sounds are emitted into the ocean. The main methods used for marine mammal mitigation involve: time and area planning of industrial activities to avoid marine mammals, the detection of animals close to the noise source, real-time mitigation (the delay and/or suspension of operations), and soft start or ramp-up (where sound levels are increased gradually over time).

Marine mammal mitigation guidelines

Various guidelines have been written to implement marine mammal mitigation. Regulatory agencies, such as: the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Ireland’s National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), USA’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), have specific guidelines that must be followed for marine mammal mitigation during offshore industrial activities. Each set of guidelines indicates the amount of time required to search for marine mammals before operations begin, what to do if a marine mammal is observed, how the soft start must be carried out, what to do when and if a shut-down procedure is required and the regulations of noise activities at night or during line changes for seismic surveys.


During offshore industrial activities these marine mammal mitigation guidelines are enforced by certified Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs;, Marine Mammal and Protected Species Observers (MMPSOs) and/or Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) operators ( All Ocean Science Consulting (OSC) MMOs, MMPSOs and PAM operators are trained specifically to work closely with clients to ensure understanding of operational requirements and enforcement of marine mammal mitigation guidelines. Please consult our main webpage for more information on the services we offer.

Marine Mammal Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring operators

A Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) aboard an oil rig in the North Sea. © OSC 2004.

A Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) aboard an oil rig in the North Sea. © OSC 2004.

Ocean Science Consulting employs highly qualified MMOs, MMPSOs and PAM operators. Ocean Science Consulting uses full-time employees as MMOs and PAM operators whenever possible, allowing us to provide consistent high quality services. All of OSC’s MMOs and PAM operators have marine biology (or equivalent) undergraduate degrees as a minimum requirement and have also undergone extensive pre-employment long-term trainee programmes. The majority of our MMOs are also trained PAM operators, which allows a high degree of flexibility in the working offshore environment. All our observers and operators hold the full suite of up-to-date offshore training and medical certificates, are fully-insured and benefit from 24-hour land-based logistical and expert technical support throughout the entire survey duration. All OSC MMOs and PAM operators are contractually obliged to stay up-to-date on all marine mammal mitigation guidelines allowing us to know exactly what is required in your area.

Company experience

Ocean Science Consulting specialises in marine mammal mitigation. Based in Scotland and operating world-wide since 2004, our scientists have worked for a wide-range of clients including the military, BASF, RWE Dea, Maersk, Shell, Noble (drilling), Noble Denton, SFF, PGS, Gardline, RSK, CGGVeritas, Fugro, Subsea7 etc. Our services are regularly praised; hence most of our custom is from repeat clients. Client testimonials are also available upon request.

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