ANSI standard for towed passive acoustic monitoring and mitigation systems for marine mammals

These pages outline a draft Acoustical Society of America (ASA)-sponsored American National Standard (“ANSI standard”) on towed cabled passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) systems and operators for monitoring and mitigation purposes.  The proposed standard would cover requirements and recommendations for initial planning (including guidelines for when PAM is not appropriate for a planned field operation), hardware, software, training, real-time mitigation and monitoring procedures, and performance validation.  The present form of the standard would not cover operational shutdown decision criteria, sound source verification, or how to establish the required detection range of the system, for reasons explained in a later link.

The motivation for developing this standard is that at least one U.S. federal regulatory agency is requiring towed PAM operations for real-time mitigation and monitoring, in order to comply with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).  However, to date no specific guidelines have been developed or implemented, although both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) has issued some general guidelines.

As of May 2014 two federal agencies have supported  moving this standard beyond the concept stage into a full draft standard.  What follows this page is a straw man outline of such a standard, which will  be circulated through both the industrial, regulatory, and academic communities (e.g. MARMAN and Bioacoustics mailing lists) in an attempt to achieve as much consensus as possible on the scope of the  standard.

To proceed further, a working group of 8-10 individuals needs to be determined.  The group should  include at least three individuals from industry [such as a major oil company, an acoustic consulting company, and a representative from an industry association like the International Association of Geophysical Contractors(IAGC) or American Petroleum Institute(API) ], as well as individuals from each U.S. federal agency that has an interest in supporting the standard. The group will collaborate remotely, likely via this website, and subgroups will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face at upcoming Acoustical Society of America meetings and the 2015 DCLDE meeting (location TBD).  The final data product will be a draft standard that will then be released to the wider community via mailing lists and the Acoustical Society of America media (e.g. Acoustics Today).  The draft will then pass through additional rounds of public comment before being voted for passage by the appropriate ASA institutional consensus committee (ANSI-Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) S3/SC 1, Animal Bioacoustics).  A workshop will be organized in 2015 to permit the working group to meet in order to finalize the document draft and accelerate the incorporation of community comments.  The tentative plan is to coordinate the workshop location and date  with the 2015 DCLDE conference, which may be held in early July  in Ft. Collins, CO or San Diego,CA.

Please feel free to review the various components of the standard outline (and comments to date) using the drop-down menu at the top of this website.  You can leave comments in each section, or private feedback can also be sent using the contact form below.  Also note that you can also comment on each other’s comments.  I’m hoping that posting the outline in a weblog fashion will allow a large community to post constructive feedback on the outline, and to each other.  Enjoy!

Click here to move to start of draft outline…

Links to current guidelines and PAM training courses…


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