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Assisting cooperation for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive on underwater noise

QUIETSEAS Project is funded by DG Environment of the European Commission within the call “DG ENV/MSFD 2020”. This call funds MSFD development, in particular the preparation of the next 6-year cycle of implementation.

The QUIETSEAS Project aims to enhance cooperation among Member States (MS) in the Mediterranean Sea Region (MED) to implement the third Cycle of the Marine Directive and, in particular to support Competent Authorities and strength cooperation and collaboration in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea regions through the following specific objectives:
Specific objective 1 (SO1): To identify relevant indicators for criterion D11C2 (Anthropogenic continuous low-frequency sound in water).
Specific objective 2 (SO2): To promote the consolidation of relevant indicators for D11 and support the operationalisation of indicators on the state, pressure and impacts of underwater noise in close coordination with TG Noise.  
Specific objective 3 (SO3): To promote harmonisation of regional work on threshold values with TG Noise recommendations.
Specific objective 4 (SO4): To develop effective and efficient mechanisms for GES assessment and regional coordination by providing management tools for harmonization, reporting and assessment of D11.
Specific objective 5 (SO5). To demonstrate the potential effectiveness of coordinated mitigation measures to reduce shipping noise.
Specific objective 6 (SO6): To promote (sub)regional cooperation in order to ensure i) coordination across the region/ subregions ii) the involvement of Competent Authorities iii) long-term dissemination of the results.

The consortium is made up of 10 entities, 8 from EU Members States plus Monaco and an Intergovernmental Institution (UNEP-MAP- SPA/RAC) which share marine sub-regions in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea basins. These are key entities in the implementation of the MSFD and the most relevant organizations in each country, as they are appointed by the relevant national authorities to support the implementation of the MSFD in their countries due to their expertise and skills. One of the partners is actually a competent authority for the implementation of the MSFD (DFMR, Cyprus). Another partner, SPA/RAC, is acting at regional level and represents the Barcelona Convention.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the Directorate-General for the Environment's policy framework for the protection of the marine environment and the environmental pillar of the Integrated Maritime Policy. The aim of the MSFD is to effectively protect the marine environment across Europe. The MSFD aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU's marine waters by 2020, and to protect the marine resource base upon which economic and social activities depend.
Underwater noise in the ocean

The MSFD considers underwater noise as pollution. Energy input can occur at many scales in both space and time. Anthropogenic sounds may be of short duration (e.g. impulsive) or be long lasting (e.g. continuous); impulsive sounds may however be repeated at intervals (duty cycle) and such repetition may become “smeared” with distance and reverberation and become indistinguishable from continuous noise. Higher frequency sounds transmit less well in the marine environment whereas lower frequency sounds can travel far. In summary, there is great variability in transmission of sound in the marine environment (see MSFD and the Technical Subgroup on Underwater noise -TGNoise- reports).

Project funded by the DG Environment of the European Commission within the call “DG ENV/MSFD 2020” Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
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