Vessel noise present year-round at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Vessel noise present year-round at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Credit: Oregon State University

The environment in the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco is not a refuge from the noise generated by ship traffic, the first underwater marine acoustic study of the region has shown.


Vessel and other human sound is not currently regulated in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, but sanctuary officials are trying to learn more about its impact on animals as part of efforts to evaluate and improve the management of the ecosystem.

Noise from human activity such as vessel traffic or offshore drilling can have an impact on the health of marine animals. For example, whales rely on sound to forage, communicate, navigate and avoid predators—processes that can be hindered by human-made noise.

“Noise levels we measured at some frequencies in the sanctuary were higher than those modeled for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary near the Port of Los

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