Anthropogenic (man-made) sound has the potential to harm marine biota. Increasing concerns about these effects have led to regulation and mitigation, despite there being few data on which to base environmental management, especially for fishes and invertebrates. We argue that regulation and mitigation should always be developed by looking at potential effects from the perspectives of the animals and ecosystems exposed to the sounds. We contend that there is currently a need for far more data on which to base regulation and mitigation, as well as for deciding on future research priorities. This will require a process whereby regulators and researchers come together to identify and implement a strategy that links key scientific and regulatory questions.