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Credit: creativecommons.org/Isaac Kohane

Conservationists have welcomed a recent vote in the European Parliament to make underwater sonar oil exploration subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), as a significant step to reduce marine noise pollution.

The European Parliament now includes ‘research and exploration of minerals’ among those activities that require an EIA. With more and more sonar explorations by oil companies in European seas, posing an increasing threat towards marine life, this outcome is certainly positive news.

In the past two weeks alone, two scientific papers have been published documenting some of the detrimental effects caused by intense underwater noise on marine life, such as on whales, dolphins and even shellfish.

“We congratulate the Parliament for its brave stand, even when it has faced strong opposition through lobbying activities by the oil industry,” said Sigrid Lüber, president of OceanCare.

Michael Jasny, director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, added: “Making EIAs mandatory for underwater exploration activities is a long overdue but important step towards better protection of marine life. Now we urge the European governments to follow the Parliament's lead.”

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