OSC provides Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) for myriad marine industries including: pile driving, decommissioning, seismic exploration, drilling, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), scientific research, etc. Our experienced and qualified Marine Mammal Observers help developers reduce potential impacts of operations on the marine environment by ensuring there are no breaches of environmental protocols or regulations. Marine Mammal Observers ensure that marine industrial operations are compliant with mitigation guidelines. Mitigation actions, including delayed start to operations, soft-start to airgun firing or piling, and airgun shutdown, are implemented when protected species (can be country specific, including marine mammals, sharks or turtles) are sighted within a specified mitigation zone (typically 500 or 1,000 m from acoustic source). OSC’s highly trained Marine Mammal Observers also perform scientific research. For example during distance-sampling surveys to derive abundance estimates.
All our Marine Mammal Observers hold the full suite of offshore training qualifications, including:
When involved in large industry projects, MMOs are often required to have additional training, which can include:
OSC is also one of only two current providers offering New Zealand Department Of Conservation (DOC) approved training courses for both Marine Mammal Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) operators.
MMOs are typically experienced and qualified prior to joining our team, but most candidates, particularly cruise leaders, still receive in-house training to ensure a high standard is adopted by OSC staff, at all times. It also ensures that there is a pool of personnel adopting universal methodologies, which in turn can facilitate data comparability for future surveys and monitoring.
Marine Mammal Observer guidelines vary from country to country, but our MMOs are flexible, stay up to date, and have extensive knowledge of operational procedures and industry regulations. This enables them to interpret and implement all guidelines quickly and efficiently in real-time situations, which minimises disruption and operational downtime. OSC Marine Mammal Observers can work to all guidelines, but those used most commonly include:
The science of infra-red (IR) night-time vision technology is still in its infancy. We have conducted some preliminary research on night-vision systems and trialled their use in the field during marine mammal observations, with poor results, so OSC is unable to warrant and recommend this methodology. Nevertheless, we are willing and capable of providing this service according to regulatory necessity (e.g. German and Australian waters).
Contact us for further information or to discuss your project-specific requirements.
JNCC (2010a): Statutory nature conservation agency protocol for minimising the risk of injury to marine mammals from piling noise. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Inverness. 14 pp.
JNCC (2010b): JNCC guidelines for minimising the risk of injury to marine mammals from using explosives. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Aberdeen, UK. 10 pp.
JNCC (2017): JNCC guidelines for minimising the risk of injury and disturbance to marine mammals from geophysical surveys Aberdeen. 28 pp.
NPWS (2014): Guidance to manage the risk to marine mammals from man-made sound sources in Irish waters. Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. National Parks & Wildlife Service. 59 pp.