Member State report / Art9 / 2012 / D11 / Ireland / NE Atlantic: Celtic Seas

Report type Member State report to Commission
MSFD Article Art. 9 Determination of GES (and Art. 17 updates)
Report due 2012-10-15
GES Descriptor D11 Energy, incl. underwater noise
Member State Ireland
Region/subregion NE Atlantic: Celtic Seas
Reported by Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
Report date 15/04/2013
Report access ACSIE_MSFD9GES_20130415.xml
GES component
11.1 Distribution in time and place of loud, low and mid frequency impulsive sounds
11.1.1 Proportion of days with loud sound levels
11.2 Continuous low frequency sound
11.2.1 Ambient noise
Method used
Ireland has utilised the information sharing facilitated by OSPAR on existing methodologies and future developments for determining GES and environmental targets and indicators. The non-binding OSPAR ‘Advice Documents’ use the benefit of OSPAR expertise to set out common approaches for expressing GES and potential methodologies for developing targets and indicators. The OSPAR countries implementing the MSFD have collectively analysed and shared their emerging GES determinations and associated targets and indicators through the creation of an inventory of emerging national proposals. For the biodiversity Descriptors (including 1, 2, 4 and 6) OSPAR countries are sharing expertise on common approaches. An intensive programme of work is still continuing to coordinate national approaches to biodiversity targets and indicators, including the ongoing development of a proposed set of common OSPAR biodiversity indicators for MSFD. Ireland has also participated in EU coordination through the EU CIS process.
Marine reporting units
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • BirdsOffshorePelagic
  • BirdsOffshoreSurface
  • CephalopodsCoastShelf
  • CephalopodsDeep_sea
  • FishDeep_sea
  • FishDeep_seaElasmobranchs
  • FishDemersal
  • FishDemersalElasmobranchs
  • FishPelagic
  • FishPelagicElasmobranchs
  • MammalsBaleenWhales
  • MammalsSeals
  • MammalsToothedWhales
  • MarineCoast
  • MarineOceanic
  • MarineShelf
  • Noise
  • ReptilesTurtles
GES description
Loud, low and mid frequency impulsive sounds and continuous low frequency sounds introduced into the marine environment through human activities do not have adverse effects on marine ecosystems: • Human activities introducing loud, low and mid-frequency impulsive sounds into the marine environment are managed to the extent that no significant long-term adverse effects are incurred at the population level, or specifically to vulnerable / threatened species and key functional groups. • Continuous low frequency sound inputs do not pose a significant risk to marine life at the population level, or specifically to vulnerable / threatened species and key functional groups.
Threshold values
  • Irish Assesment Area = No thresholds established
Threshold value unit
Proportion of area to achieve threshold value
GES not yet quantitatively determined
Reference point type
No baseline established
Assessment method
GES not yet quantitatively determined
Development status
Further development needed (expected to be operational by 2018 if adopted). Research is currently underway in Ireland collating pressure data on impulsive noise and compiling a register of impulsive sound for Irish marine waters. The approach is based on the UK example presented in the Report of the Technical Sub Group Noise (TSG Noise; Van der Graaf et al., 2012 ). The work has focussed to-date on impulsive sound from seismic activities. Seismic surveying is considered to be the major sound source of concern when assessing low and mid frequency impulsive noise in Irish waters. Other impulsive noise generating activities i.e. sonar, pile driving, explosives have not been included in the register at this stage due to data limitations which will be addressed at later stages of the MSFD cycle. In addition, vessel data generated by the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), and Automatic Identification System (AIS) are currently being developed to produce an assessment of continuous sound and identify areas of potential interaction of shipping /fishing vessel sounds with baleen whales. Other work is also underway aimed at producing risk maps for key marine mammal species (including baleen whales) based on propagation of anthropogenic sound combined with the statistical probability of marine mammals being present in an area. Results from this research are not available for use in the present reporting, but are expected to be available in 2013. In-situ monitoring of ambient noise in the Shannon Estuary and in Cork Harbour is also being undertaken. The output of this research work will be used to inform the development of a ‘risk-based’ noise monitoring programme which will lead to the quantification and better understanding of the of the occurrence and intensity of noise in Irish marine waters and its potential environmental impacts, including the future development of quantitative targets and indicators.