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ACCOBAMS - Addressing impacts of ocean noise on cetaceans in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
by Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS) (Intergovernmental organization)
ACCOBAMS considers ocean noise as one of its highest priority since it represents a major threat to cetacean conservation. Monitoring noise-producing activities in the region, such as construction, shipping, dredging, seismic surveys, particularly in cetacean critical habitats, and mitigating noise impacts on cetaceans are recognized as of high priority for achieving the ACCOBAMS objectives. Even if the institutional and legal frameworks are in place, addressing the lack of information and data in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, like in other parts of the world, is the key issue to assess ocean noise and to reduce its impact on marine biodiversity, in particular on cetaceans.

In the recent years, with the support of the Joint CMS/ACCOBAMS/ASCOBANS Noise Working Group, ACCOBAMS obtained several important achievements and reached important milestones through specific activities such as the elaboration of the basin-wide strategy for ocean noise monitoring in the Mediterranean Sea, the identification of noise hot spots in the Mediterranean Sea and the development of a Regional Noise Register Demonstrator.

To pursue these efforts, the ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat has committed to assist the UNEP/MAP in formulating a regional strategy, by developing agreed indicators on ocean noise to be monitored in order to assess the status of the marine environment and ecosystems under the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) of the Barcelona Convention.

The ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat has also committed to undertake part of a regional project the QUIETMED project - coordinated by CTN - Marine Technology Center (www.ctnaval.com) and funded by the DG Environment of the European Commission. The QUIETMED project - Joint programme on noise (D11) for the implementation of the Second Cycle of the MSFD in the Mediterranean Sea is aimed at enhancing cooperation among Member States in the Mediterranean Sea Basin to implement the Second Cycle of the Marine Directive and in particular to assist them in the preparation of their MSFD reports by 2018, in particular as regards Descriptor 11 on underwater noise. It will also contribute to address ocean noise monitoring gaps in the Mediterranean and improving coherence and adequacy of MSFD implementation. In addition to the ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat, 8 national partners from Mediterranean EU Member States are partners to this project.

These commitments will lead to reaching common approaches to the determination and monitoring of the marine environmental status through the development of a regional joint register on impulsive noise together with definition of thresholds, guidance on methodologies and policy recommendations for countries.

Capacity building activities will be also implemented for Third countries to promote and facilitate regional coordination on ocean noise.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Ocean noise
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
December 2018
Joint register of impulsive noise in the Mediterranean Sea Basin
December 2018
Methodologies and best practices for ocean noise monitoring (schemes, technologies and standardization)
June 2017
Report of Expert Workshop on national and regional ocean noise register
June 2018
Pilot projects of ocean noise monitoring
Financing (in USD)
80,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Local scientists, technical staff and ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat staff
Basic information
Time-frame: January 2017 - December 2018
The 24 Contracting Parties to ACCOBAMS and the range States in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Scientists, National stakeholders, International Organizations addressing biodiversity and/or marine resources conservation.
Contact information
Susana SALVADOR, Executive Secretary, accobams@accobams.net, +377 98 98 20 78
Monaco, Principality of Monaco
Other SDGs
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