Right whale Catalog #2791 and her less than 2-week-old calf sighted 10 nautical miles off Fernandina Beach, FL — January 6, 2019. Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, NOAA permit 20556–01

Experts, advocates assess state of ocean noise pollution

Any number of studies will tell you — it’s a noisy sea out there, and there’s at least a couple decades of work to do something about it. The impact of sea noise was the subject of discussion Saturday at the Ritz Theatre following a screening of the documentary “Sonic Sea” as part of the 2019 Green Screen Film Festival.

The group — Paulita Bennett-Martin of Oceana, Savannah State assistant professor Tara Cox and One Hundred Miles Vice President Alice Keyes — mentioned a few times that “Sonic Sea” is a hard film to sit through — a generally disturbing hour of documentary cinema. Cox said she was part of the federal Marine Mammal Commission when the issues examined in the film — beginning with a whale mass mortality event in the Bahamas in 2000 — took place. She said she was there in 2002 when Congress gave them a million dollars and told them to solve the sound problem.

“Clearly we did not, but there is a story there that maybe I’ll have time to share a little bit about, about the science,” Cox said. “I’ve actually seen this before — several times before — but I was moved to think about how far we’ve come, and how much more we understand, and the roles the science has played in that.

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