1. Start
  2. Press
  3. [2024-05-02] IVL explores measures to reduce environmental impact of underwater noise
News | 2024-05-02

IVL explores measures to reduce environmental impact of underwater noise

Underwater noise in the oceans is a growing environmental problem. Increased shipping and heavy recreational boat traffic have a negative impact on wildlife and the environment. Despite this, effective measures to reduce this noise are lacking. With two recently launched projects, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and partners want to change this.

"The most persistent underwater noise is caused by ships, but there is currently no incentive for ship owners to do anything about this problem”, says Torbjörn Johansson, underwater acoustician and project manager for the newly launched InciteShip.

The project aims to develop a system that can be used to reward quiet ships. By way of a new type of automatic station that measures underwater noise from passing ships, the results and the environmental impact that the noise is assessed to cause are fed into a points system. The idea is that it could then become part of the Clean Shipping Index, which ranks ships based on their environmental performance. The Clean Shipping Index, owned by IVL since 2021, forms the basis for port and shipping lane charges, both in Sweden and in other countries, and is a tool for choosing more sustainable shipping options.

"The measurement data we produce in InciteShip will also increase our understanding of different noise sources and how noise can be reduced”, says Torbjörn Johansson.

The other new project is DEMASK, an EU project that brings together researchers, decision-makers and stakeholders in the maritime sector in several countries around the North Sea, with the aim of formulating recommendations for the management of underwater noise. It will include developing scenarios of how noise levels are affected by different measures, and creating tools to measure and evaluate which measures are most effective.

"From IVL's perspective, we will mainly focus on underwater noise from recreational boats in coastal areas, and how it affects animals living there. This issue is particularly important for Sweden, which has a long coastline and a large number of recreational boats. We also want to include the impact on invertebrates; little is known about them, and therefore they're often overlooked when assessing the environmental impact of underwater noise", says Anna-Sara Krång, researcher in marine ecology and project manager at IVL.

The projects are undertaken in collaboration with national and international partners, government agencies and ship owners. The aim is to take the research results all the way to the implementation of measures. The projects also aim to increase knowledge about the environmental impact of underwater noise.

For more information, contact:
Torbjörn Johansson, torbjorn.johansson@ivl.se, tel. +46 (0)10-788 67 02
Anna-Sara Krång, anna-sara.krang@ivl.se, tel. +46 (0)10-788 69 12

InciteShip External link, opens in new window. is carried out in collaboration with the Swedish Defence Research Agency. It is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration, and runs from 2024 to 2026. DEMASK External link, opens in new window., a collaboration between nine partners from four countries, is funded in part by the Interreg North Sea Programme and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water, and will run from 2024 to 2026.

Subscribe to our newsletter