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Creating a Decision Support Tool to Reduce Underwater Noise

A key aspect of SATURN research is assessing which mitigation measures are the most effective and feasible for reducing the harm caused by underwater radiated noise. In pursuit of this goal, SATURN researchers are working on a tool to support decision making in Marine Spatial Planning when it comes to reducing underwater radiated noise.

Developing a Case Study in the North Adriatic Sea

The Northern Adriatic region will serve as the testing grounds for developing, demonstrating and evaluating the Marine Spatial Planning Decision Support Tool (DST) developed in SATURN. This region has been chosen as a test case area to capitalise on the comprehensive data already gathered in national and international research projects in this area (e.g. SOUNDSCAPE59, ADRIPLAN, SUPREME, SIMWESTMED, RITMARE63, PHAROS4MPAs64, and PORTODIMARE65). Research partners CNR and Quiet-Oceans are leading this effort, and will link their work with international MSP processes ongoing in the area of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

The North Adriatic case study will involve the ecosystem-based approach and apply it to underwater noise mitigation scenarios, taking into account present conditions and expected trends, and considered as part of a multi-use planning effort (e.g. interaction with other uses, competition for space, potential synergies). A complete analysis of the cumulative effects and impacts from multiple anthropogenic pressures will be undertaken.

At the end of this work, SATURN will deliver to the policymaker and research community an evaluation of the feasibility of Marine Spatial Planning to address underwater noise management and policies, using the example of the North Adriatic as a case study. This evaluation will include a comparison with another SATURN case study on the effects of rerouting a major shipping lane in the Kattegat on the harbour porpoise population.

The SATURN MSP Decision Support Tool (DSP)

The SATURN decision-support tool will help policymakers, decision makers, and marine managers incorporate underwater noise mitigation efforts in the MSP process. The platform will be intuitive and interactive, providing an accessible and attractive platform that enables users to define future local or regional regulations (e.g. slowing down ships, increasing traffic density, etc.) and quantify the effects of these possible future scenarios on underwater noise.

It will offer the possibility to identify risks, analyse options, build scenarios and transparently offer realistic and knowledge- based solutions/options.

SATURN will provide a demonstration of the DSP to the SATURN Stakeholder Group, who will be invited to test the tool in practice.

SATURN partners from CNR and Quiet-Oceans with stakeholders in Italy

Meeting Stakeholders

To kickstart this work, a meeting was held by CNR and Quiet-Oceans to present the SATURN project to local stakeholders that are experts on the target species in the Northern Adriatic Sea, including (i) bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead turtles (Dr. Caterina Fortuna, Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Italy) and (ii) marine resources linked to fisheries (Dr. Simone Libralato, National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), Division of Oceanography, Italy).

We look forward to sharing more as this work progresses!

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