A Marine Mammal Mitigation Plan (MMMP) is a written and finalised document listing appropriate mitigation measures that should be utilised during offshore activities that are likely to produce underwater noise and vibration levels capable of potentially causing injury and disturbance to marine mammals.
Currently, the MMO & PAM Handbook (Todd et al., 2015) is the most up-to-date and comprehensive reference in the world on marine mammal distributions (pp. 6-16), hearing (pp. 24-28) and vocalisations (pp. 169-189) in relation to anthropogenic sound sources (pp. 46-61). Its ‘look-up’ tables in conjunction with planning tools on the OSC website, are an invaluable resource to OSC staff when compiling MMMPs.
MMMP work methodology
OSC’s MMMPs are always tailor made to suit regulatory requirements anywhere in the world. Marine Mammal Mitigation Plans should be agreed upon, and submitted to the appropriate regulator, at least four months prior to commencement of works.
Marine Mammal Mitigation Plans are always region specific, but at minimum should comprise:
- Identification of a Marine Mammal Mitigation Zone (MMMZ);
- Appointment of an appropriate number of suitable qualified MMO(s) and PAM Operators;
- Methods for detection of marine mammals within the MMMZ whether visually (by the MMO(s)) or acoustically using PAM equipment or other means of detection;
- A reporting methodology to enable efficient communication between the MMO(s) and the person responsible for approving commencement of sound source (seismic, piling, ROV, sonar, explosives etc.);
- An appropriate soft start procedure whereby noise activities do not commence until an agreed time has elapsed, and during which marine mammals have not been detected within the MMMZ; and,
- Where appropriate, methods for the applications of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs).
OSC management follows ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, and OHSAS 18001:2007.
All documents and reports go through a Quality Control (QC) procedure prior to client submission. Typically, field personnel collect and enter data, a preliminary report is written by a Marine Mammal Scientist/Supervisor, with the help of a consultant for data analysis. A finalised report is then submitted to an OSC Director/Project Manager for QC.