Protect Arctic Whales From Underwater Noise

  • by: WWF
  • recipient: The governments of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States
Whales use clicks, whistles and songs to locate food, raise calves, and find mates. But underwater noise pollution—from ship propellers, seismic booms made in the search for oil and gas, and construction—makes it difficult for whales to communicate. It can even damage their hearing.

For thousands of years the Arctic Ocean has been a natural sound sanctuary for marine mammals. But as sea ice melts due to climate change, more industrial activity is moving into Arctic waters, bringing with it dramatic increases in underwater noise. Natural sound in the region is in danger of being overwhelmed by an increasingly loud, man-made racket, putting narwhals, belugas and bowhead whales at risk.

Tell the governments of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States to keep underwater noise pollution out of the Arctic. Let them know you want a quieter ocean for whales!

To: Arctic Council member states

For thousands of years the Arctic Ocean has been a natural sound sanctuary for marine mammals. But as sea ice melts due to climate change, more industrial activity is moving into Arctic waters, bringing with it dramatic increases in underwater noise. We must stop the spread of underwater noise throughout this unique part of the world and gain a better understanding of its impacts on marine biodiversity, coastal and Indigenous communities, whose cultures and livelihoods depend upon a healthy marine environment.

Please take the following actions to stop the spread of underwater noise in the Arctic:



  • Formally acknowledge in the Arctic Council's 2019 Ministerial Declaration that the impact of underwater noise on Arctic biodiversity and Indigenous communities is an issue that must be addressed through new research and cooperation.

  • Arctic States take a precautionary approach and "hold the noise" in Arctic waters at current levels until safe noise levels can be determined for this unique marine environment.

  • By 2025, Arctic States implement strategies in their respective countries to bring underwater noise to safe levels and promote a healthy Arctic Ocean, in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 14.1.


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