In April 2013 the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) facilitated an underwater acoustic workshop for marine renewables regulators and their statutory environmental advisors. The driver for the workshop was the need for a greater appreciation amongst regulators of the key aspects of underwater acoustic data gathering. Specifically: what needs to be measured; how measurement should be undertaken; common pitfalls to avoid; and what to look for in a data gathering and analysis report.
This document has been prepared as a key output of that workshop, to provide high level guidance on the assessment of underwater acoustic measurement activities. It aims to enable regulators to have informed discussions with developers of marine energy converter systems (MECS) from the initial scoping stages and aid the assessment of monitoring activities.
Whilst this guideline relates specifically to the use of passive acoustic data gathering, in future there is likely to be a need for an equivalent guideline for the use of active acoustic techniques. Whereas passive acoustic (‘listening-in’) techniques tend to be used to assess the sound output from devices and events, active acoustics (emitting sound and ‘listening’ for reflections) is being investigated as a monitoring tool, in particular to provide positioning and behavioural characteristics of objects.